NHS told to prepare for elderly COPD rise

The NHS must plan for a 'significant burden' of lung disease in the UK's growing elderly population, according to researchers who found more than a third of a million people over 85 have a respiratory condition.

Older people face rising levels of COPD, researchers warn
Older people face rising levels of COPD, researchers warn

A study of 845 elderly people by UK researchers presented at the European Respiratory Society conference in Vienna found 25% of men and 29% of women had asthma or COPD. Nationally, this equates to around 350,000 people. As many as six in 10 men had some form of airflow obstruction.

Many respiratory disease cases were previously undiagnosed and researchers warned that the prevalence of COPD is likely to rise in coming years as more people live longer.

Lead author Therese Small from the Freeman Hospital and Newcastle University said: 'Over the next few years it will be crucial for healthcare professionals to understand the problems the ageing population will face.

'Our results confirm a significant prevalence of obstructive spirometry in the over-85 population. Further evaluation of this unique dataset will allow us to examine how much of this is attributable to healthy ageing of the lungs and how much to the airways disease in this population of very old people.'

The research formed part of the Newcastle 85+ study into the respiratory health of elderly people in the UK.

Researchers found that, as well as high prevalence of asthma and COPD, 59% of men and 50% of women had airflow obstruction as measured by spirometry.

Among the elderly patients, 42% of men and 17% of women reported significant occupational exposure to heavy industry, while 71% of men and 52% of women were current or ex-smokers.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

BMA House

BMA prepares to ballot junior doctors on industrial action

Junior doctors will be balloted over industrial action if the government does not...

Typing on a laptop

NHS 111 systems could be offline until next week following cyber attack

NHS 111 systems could be offline until next week following the cyber attack on a...

The NHS App in the Apple App store on a smart phone

NHS England piloting online patient registration for GP practices

A new system that will allow patients to register with a GP surgery online is being...

satisfaction scale

Which parts of England have the highest and lowest GP patient satisfaction?

Patient satisfaction with GP services varies widely between PCN and ICS areas across...

Talking General Practice logo

Podcast: Improving menopause care

During August we’re bringing you some of the best interviews from series one of the...

Girl receiving vaccine

GPs raise 'substantial concerns' over workload impact of polio boosters

London GP leaders have raised 'substantial concerns' that practices do not have the...