Indexed on: 03 Mar '09Published on: 03 Mar '09Published in: European Respiratory Journal
Little is known about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in Chinese nonsmokers. The present study aimed to investigate the profiles of COPD among nonsmokers based on the Chinese Epidemiological Survey of COPD (CESCOPD). In the CESCOPD, 20,245 subjects aged 40 yrs or older were interviewed with questionnaires and spirometry tests. Subjects with a post-bronchodilator forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV(1))/forced vital capacity (FVC) ratio of <0.70 were identified as having COPD. Data of 12,471 nonsmokers and 1,024 smoking COPD patients were analysed in the current study. The overall prevalence of COPD among nonsmokers was 5.2% (95% confidence interval 4.8-5.6). Being male, of advanced age, lower body mass index (BMI) and lower educational level, having exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, coal and/or biomass smoke, poor ventilation in the kitchen, a family history of respiratory disease and recurrent childhood cough were all independently associated with a higher risk of having COPD among nonsmokers. Nonsmokers with respiratory symptoms without airflow limitation showed a somewhat different pattern of risk factors. Nonsmokers with COPD were less likely to present with chronic productive coughs and lower BMI, while more likely to have received a physician diagnosis of asthma and respiratory diseases in childhood, than smokers with COPD. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is prevalent among Chinese nonsmokers, and nonsmoking chronic obstructive pulmonary disease may have different profiles from smoking chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.