Home Health Why does the number of non-smokers with COPD increase?

Why does the number of non-smokers with COPD increase?

An image to illustrate a patient with COPD
© iStock / sudok1

The prevalence of non-smokers with COPD is increasing. A new study has evaluated the associated comorbidities and exposures of non-smoking patients with the disease.

COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as: "Not a single disease but a generic term used to describe chronic lung diseases that cause airflow limitations in the lung. more familiar "chronic bronchitis" and "emphysema" are no longer used, but are now included in the diagnosis of COPD. "

"The most common symptoms of COPD are shortness of breath, or" need of air ", excessive production of sputum and chronic cough. However, COPD is not simply a" smoker's cough ", but an underdiagnosed and potentially lethal lung disease that can progressively lead to death. "

65 million people have moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to estimates by the WHO.

I study

Researchers examined 180 non-smoking patients with COPD between the years 2016 and 2018. Each patient was classified in mild, moderate, severe and very severe COPD

The study found that the percentage of mild, moderate, severe and very serious patients was 26%, 53%, 58% and 43% respectively.


The most common comorbidities found among non-smokers with COPD were:

  • Hypertension (34.4%); is
  • Diabetes mellitus (17.8%).

Environmental factors

Most patients with COPD (61%) lived in rural areas, while 38% belonged to urban areas. 43% of the patients had an exposure to biomass gas, while 26% had an exposure to toxic gases. According to the American College of Chest Physicians, these findings support the theory that exposure to biomass fuels is an important factor for COPD, and there is a higher risk among the rural population.

Environmental pollution and domestic smoke as contributors to COPD

The lead researcher Dr. Sameer Arbat said: "The exposure to industrial smoke, environmental pollution and domestic smoking are the main factors contributing to COPD in non-smokers. There is a need to study this subset of non-smokers who have further COPD to determine the real cause of this increase. "

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