Background: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) has been a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, over the years. In 1995, the implementation of a respiratory function survey seemed to be an adequate way to draw attention to neglected respiratory symptoms and increase the awareness of spirometry surveys. By 2002 there were new consensual guidelines in place and the awareness that prevalence of COPD depended on the criteria used for airway obstruction definition. The purpose of this study is to revisit the two studies and to turn public some of the data and respective methodologies. Methods: From Pneumobil study database of 12,684 subjects, only the individuals with 40+ years old (n = 9.061) were selected. The 2002 study included a randomized representative sample of 1,384 individuals with 35-69 years old. Results: The prevalence of COPD was 8.96% in Pneumobil and 5.34% in the 2002 study. In both studies, presence of COPD was greater in males and there was a positive association between presence of COPD and older age groups. Smokers and ex-smokers showed a higher proportion of cases of COPD. Conclusions: Prevalence in Portugal is lower than in other European countries. This may be related to lower smokers' prevalence. Globally, the most important risk factors associated with COPD were age over 60 years, male gender and smoking exposure. All aspects and limitations regarding different recruitment methodologies and different criteria for defining COPD cases highlight the need of a standardized method to evaluate COPD prevalence and associated risks factors, whose results can be compared across countries, as it is the case of BOLD project.
- Airway obstruction
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease prevalence