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COPD in India

The increasing burden of chronic diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), is placing increasing strains on countries with developing health systems. In an article published in the Primary Care Respiratory Journal, Ailsa McKay and colleagues carried out a systematic review of studies investigating the prevalence of COPD in India.

The authors did not identify any studies from which they could draw a rigorous estimate of the prevalence of COPD. Reliable standard estimates of chronic bronchitis were only available for rural populations. They identified four studies that gave estimated prevalences of between 6.5% and 7.7%. Smoking status was an important predictor of COPD prevalence. Residential environs, age, and domestic smoke exposure are also important, but investigation of their effect was limited by study heterogeneity.

Ailsa McKay and colleagues concluded that although limited by the number and heterogeneity of studies and their unsuitability for meta-analysis, the most rigorous existing estimates of the general prevalence of chronic bronchitis in rural areas was between 6.5% and 7.7%. These figures are unlikely to apply to all Indian subpopulations, so the general prevalence of chronic bronchitis in India remains unknown. Accurate estimates of the prevalence of COPD from across India are required to supplement existing data if prevention programmes are to be put in place and optimal management strategies to be devised.

See also the linked article on COPD management in India.

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