Introduction: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the third leading cause of death worldwide, with COPD deaths in China accounting for one-third of all such deaths. However, there is limited available evidence on the management of COPD in China.
Methods: A random sample of 25 011 participants in the China Kadoorie Biobank, aged 38-87 years, from 10 regions in China was surveyed in 2013-2014. Data were collected using interviewer-administered questionnaires on the diagnosis ('doctor-diagnosed' or 'symptoms-based') and management of COPD (including use of medication and other healthcare resources), awareness of diagnosis and severity of symptoms in COPD cases.
Results: Overall, 6.3% of the study population were identified as COPD cases (doctor-diagnosed cases: 4.8% and symptom-based cases: 2.4%). The proportion having COPD was higher in men than in women (7.9% vs 5.3%) and varied by about threefold (3.7%-10.0%) across the 10 regions. Among those with COPD, 54% sought medical advice during the last 12 months, but <10% reported having received treatment for COPD. The rates of hospitalisation for COPD, use of oxygen therapy at home and influenza or pneumococcal vaccinations in the previous year were 15%, 3% and 4%, respectively. Of those with COPD, half had moderate or severe respiratory symptoms, and over 80% had limited understanding of their disease and need for treatment.
Conclusion: Despite a high prevalence of COPD in China and its substantial impact on activities of daily living, knowledge about COPD and its management were limited.
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