06 November 2020
Tobacco smoking, biomass smoke, and occupational exposure are the main risk factors for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The present study analyzes data on exposure to these factors in a cohort of patients with COPD and assesses their differences in demographic and clinical characteristics.
The cross-sectional observational study was conducted from November 2016 to December 2019. Inclusion criteria were patients aged over 40 years old with post-bronchodilator forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV 1)/forced vital capacity (FVC) <0.7. At baseline, demographic features and exposure history were recorded. Moreover, respiratory symptoms were assessed by the COPD Assessment Test (CAT) and modified Medical Research Council scale (mMRC). A generalized linear mixed model was used to adjust for potential confounders.
A total of 5183 patients with COPD were included in the final analysis. The results demonstrate that exposure to tobacco combined with other risk factors resulted in significantly higher CAT scores (16.0 ± 6.7 vs 15.3 ± 6.3, P = 0.003) and more severe dyspnea (patients with mMRC ≥ 2, 71.5% vs 61.6%, P < 0.001) than exposure to tobacco alone. In addition, COPD patients with biomass smoke exposure alone had higher CAT scores than patients with only tobacco or occupational exposure (17.5 ± 6.3 vs 15.3 ± 6.3, and 15.2 ± 6.3, respectively, P < 0.05 for each comparison) and were more likely to be female and older. In addition, COPD patients who suffered from occupational exposure developed more severe dyspnea than those exposed to tobacco alone (70.8% vs 61.6%, P < 0.05), as did those exposed to biomass smoke alone (74.2% vs 61.6%, P < 0.05). This difference remained strong even after adjustment for potential confounders.