Maria Conceição de Castro Antonelli Monteiro de Queiroz 1 , Maria Auxiliadora Carmo Moreira 1 , Jose R Jardim 2 , Maria Alves Barbosa 3 , Ruth Minamisava 3 , Heicilainy Del Carlos Gondim 4 , Flávia Castro Velasco 4 , Maria Vitoria Carmo Penhavel 5
17 December 2014
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is often underdiagnosed, which might be attributable to a lack of knowledge about the disease among the general population. The objective of this study was to evaluate COPD-related knowledge among primary care users in an urban area in Brazil.
This study was carried out at primary care clinics (PCCs), including 12 general PCCs and 26 family health PCCs, in the city of Goiânia, Brazil. Between May 2013 and February 2014, we interviewed 674 PCC users, applying a questionnaire designed to assess COPD-related knowledge. Satisfactory knowledge of COPD was defined as knowing at least two of its symptoms and that smoking is a risk factor for the disease.
Of the 674 users interviewed, only 9.2% recognized the term “COPD”, 75.1% recognized the term “emphysema”, and 15.7% did not recognize either term. We found that recognizing either term was associated with a higher level of education ( P<0.001). The prevalence of satisfactory knowledge of COPD was 16.2%, and having such knowledge was associated with being over 60 years of age. The COPD symptom known by the greatest proportion of users (70.6%) was dyspnea, and most (87.5%) knew that smoking is a risk factor, whereas only a few (4.9%) knew that exposure to wood smoke is also a risk factor. The most frequently cited sources of knowledge were the media (43.1%) and a relative with COPD (36.4%).
Most of the PCC users evaluated did not know the term “COPD” but were familiar with the term “emphysema”. The level of basic knowledge about the disease was low in this population. These results should alert health care administrators to the need for interventions aimed at increasing the diagnosis rate and thus promoting the early treatment of COPD.