Amsterdam, The Netherlands: New research has revealed the devastating personal and financial impact that chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can have on the working population.
The findings, which are to be presented today (25 September 2011) at the European Respiratory Society's Annual Congress in Amsterdam, provides new perspectives on the personal and social impact the condition can have on the 45-65 year age group.
The findings suggest that people with COPD are restricted by their disease in terms of achieving their life goals, socialising with others and caring for their family. This confirms the devastating psychosocial and financial impact of COPD, particularly on people who are within the working age group.
COPD affects around 210 million people worldwide, and an increasing number of people diagnosed with the disease are under 65. The study aimed to assess the effect on this population as the impact could vary between this group and the over-65 age group, which has generally received much more attention.
The researchers conducted a cross-sectional survey in six countries asking participants about the social and economic impact of the disease on individuals and their families. The questionnaire covered a number of topics, including effect on household income, ability to maintain lifestyles, planning for the future and the impact of the illness on family and friends.
Monica Fletcher, Chief Executive of Education for Health, Chair of the European Lung Foundation and lead author of the research said: "COPD is one of the leading causes of morbidity in Europe and death from the disease has doubled over the last three decades. It is clear from our findings that many people do not feel able to maintain their usual lifestyle whilst coping with the disease."
She continued: "In addition to having a severe impact on a person's quality-of-life, the loss of activity within this productive age group can have a serious economic impact at a societal level. Significant cost, societal and quality of life benefits could be achieved if greater steps were taken to: prevent the condition, such as greater access to smoking cessation programs, earlier diagnosis and appropriate management strategies to control the condition and arrest disease progression."