Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is underdiagnosed because of limited disease awareness with trivialization of the symptoms in the general population.
A survey was conducted in a representative sample (n=2758) of individuals older than 40years of age in the general population of France. Respiratory symptoms and knowledge about COPD were assessed in individuals with or at risk for COPD (n=860, 31% of the sample).
In the overall sample, 40% of individuals had a Medical Research Council dyspnea grade of 1 or more but only 9% spontaneously reported shortness of breath. Of these 9%, 72% reported limitations to their daily activities but only 14% believed they had severe lung disease. In the overall sample, only 220 (8%) individuals knew the term COPD and only 66% associated the term COPD with respiratory disease.
Despite a large proportion of individuals at risk for COPD or having COPD and a high prevalence of breathlessness, awareness of respiratory symptoms and knowledge of COPD were limited. These findings indicate a need for educating the general population about COPD.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Keywords : COPD, Diagnosis, Knowledge, Awareness, General population, Smoking