Researchers claim COPD may be hereditary

COPD may be hereditary, claim researchers from Germany and Sweden.

It follows findings that siblings of COPD patients have a much greater risk of developing the disease than spouses.

Although smoking is known to be the most common cause of COPD, previous studies have suggested that there may be a genetic element. 

Data on over 14,000 patients who had been hospitalised for COPD in Sweden from 1986 to 2004 was analysed for the study. In this, 604 affected siblings were identified.

Standardised incidence ratios (SIRs) of COPD among siblings, twins and spouses were also calculated. 

Overall, the risk of COPD was found to be much higher in siblings (SIR of 11.87) than in spouses (SIR of 1.6).

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