Co-Morbidities Survey

In 2006 at the American Thoracic Society’s International Conference in San Diego, the COPD Foundation presented the results of the survey it took on COPD and co-morbidities.

Dr. Byron Thomashow and John W. Walsh presented the results of a phone survey conducted to 1,003 individuals, and 2,029 online surveys completed by individuals with COPD.

The goal of this survey was to study the incidence of co-morbid diseases, and impact on care received of individuals diagnosed with COPD–a topic seldom studied in the past. The survey instrument had over 75 questions, and addressed conditions such as diabetes, osteoporosis, depression, heart disease, and stroke, among others.

The results of the study indicated that co-morbidities are extremely common in the COPD community, and add significant complexity and cost of COPD care. The survey also suggested that despite significant symptoms, limitations, and health care utilization, surveyed COPD patients appear to be receiving less than maximal medical COPD therapy yet seem remarkably satisfied with the level of care. Those better connected to national COPD organizations appear to receive COPD care closer to suggested guidelines.

Over 81% percent of COPD patients in the household sample described having over 6 co-morbid conditions, as compared to 69% in organizational sample.

The breakdown revealed that 19% of the household sample reported 1 to 5 co-morbidities as compared 30% of the organizational sample, while 47% reported 6-10 co-morbidities in the household sample as compared to 53% of the organization sample.

For those reporting 11-15 co-morbidities, over one-fourth (27%) of the household sample reported this number, while only 14% of the organization sample reported 11 to 15 additional illnesses.

Finally, 7% of the household sample reported over 16 co-morbidities while only 2% of the organization sample reported this number.

The higher number of co-morbidities in the household sample corresponds to their worst health status. This greater number of co-morbidities also correlates to the larger number of pills taken daily as reported earlier: 59% of individuals in the household sample reported taking over 5 prescription medication per day compared to 48% in the organizational sample.

The study found that the majority despite preconceptions, COPD affected more women than men; in both groups, female respondents were more prevalent with 58% of household respondents being female as compared to 64% of organization respondents. Thus, overall 38% of survey respondents were male with 62% being female.


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