Objectives: The prevalence of COPD in Greece is unknown. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and trends of COPD among adults in Greece.
Methods: This study involved 888 randomly identified adults (475 men and 413 women) aged > 35 years, and smokers of at least 100 cigarettes, in a population-based, multiregional, cross-sectional descriptive design. The selected individuals reflected the urban/rural population distribution in Greece and, within each study region, the age group and gender of the community setting. The diagnosis of COPD was based on clinical and spirometric data including reversibility test (ΔFEV1 < 15%).
Results: The overall prevalence of COPD in the population aged > 35 years with a smoking history of > 100 cigarettes per lifetime was 8.4%. The gender-standardized COPD prevalence was 11.6% for men and 4.8% for women. The COPD prevalence by community setting was as follows: Athens, 6%; other urban areas, 10.1%; semiurban areas, 8.5%; and rural areas, 9.1%. Smoking intensity and age were significantly associated with higher COPD prevalence in both men and women.
Conclusions: COPD is a substantial health problem in Greece, although prevalence rates are lower than expected when the high smoking rates are taken into account. The high proportion of the patients with mild COPD who were unaware of their illness highlights the need to increase public awareness of COPD.