COPD is more common in older people, especially those aged 65 years and older. The Burden of Obstructive Lung Disease (BOLD) Initiative estimates a worldwide population prevalence of COPD for stages II or higher as equivalent to 10.1 ± 4.8% overall with 11.8 ± 7.9% for men and 8.5 ± 5.8% for women. [5] Its associated mortality in women has more than doubled over the past 20 years and now matches that in men. The number of COPD cases in the US has increased by 41% since 1982, and COPD affects 1% to 3% of white women and 4% to 6% of white men. COPD is now projected to be the third leading cause of death in the world by 2020. [1] [6] This is because of the expanding epidemic of smoking and ageing of the world population and reduced mortality from other causes of death such as cardiovascular disease. [1] [7] A systematic review and meta-analysis has shown that the prevalence of COPD in adult offspring of people with COPD is greater than population-based estimates. [8] A retrospective study conducted in the UK between 1990 and 1997 estimated COPD prevalence to be 2% in men and 1% in women. [9]

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