To determine the characteristics of undiagnosed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in a senior community center.
We performed a cross-sectional, observational study with the following procedures: questionnaire to record demographic and health status data, anthropometry, questionnaire about COPD risk factors and symptoms, spirometry, and socioeconomic evaluation. Simple logistic regression and multiple analyses were carried out to assess associations. The studied variables were tested for associations with previous COPD diagnosis.
Three hundred and thirty-five subjects aged 50 years or older were recruited and 318 completed the protocol. Seventy-one (22%) had presumptive COPD. Among them, 57 (80%) did not have a previous physician-made diagnosis of COPD. We found no associations between previous diagnosis and socioeconomic status, anthropometric data, or risk factors. Regarding respiratory symptoms, there was an association between previous COPD diagnosis and wheezing ( P=0.011). FEV 1 and FVC values were lower in the previous diagnosis group compared to the group without a previous diagnosis ( P<0.001, Student’s t-test). We found an association of lower FEV 1 (<50% predicted value) with a previous diagnosis ( P=0.028).
Our results showed a high prevalence of undiagnosed obstructive ventilatory defects in a senior community center. Previous COPD diagnosis was associated with more severe disease and more frequent wheezing. This study highlights the potential of these centers to increase COPD diagnosis and to reduce its risks.