Asthma May Lead to COPD
According to recent study in Chest, people with asthma are12.5 times more likely to develop chronic obstructive pulmonarydisease (COPD) later in life. Researchers had previouslymade a firm distinction between asthma and COPD butthey are now finding a common basis. More than 3000 Tucsonresidents were followed for up to 20 years where they periodicallycompleted questionnaires regarding their respiratoryhealth, as well as a lung function test known as spirometry. Ofthe 3000 residents, 2751 reported no asthma, 156 had previouslyhad asthma, and 192 had active asthma. Results showedthose with active asthma were 12.5 times more likely to developCOPD, while the risk for emphysema was 17 times greaterand the risk for bronchitis was 10 times greater. Smoking statuswas also a risk factor for developing COPD. Researchersare quick to point out that this association between asthma andCOPD does not prove a cause and effect. The most importantpreventive measure against COPD is to not smoke or stopsmoking, particularly if there is a history of allergies or asthma.