COPD is more common in older people, especially those ages 65 years and older. 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 projected to be the third leading cause of death in the world by 2020.[1] This is because of the expanding epidemic of smoking and aging of the world population and reduced mortality from other causes of death such as cardiovascular disease.[1][5] 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.[6]

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