Study: COPD Rates Among Nonsmokers Vary by Occupation

Office workers, mining professionals among higher populations

According to the American Journal of Managed Care, a new study has found that out of the 2.4 million working adults in the United States with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who never smoked cigarettes, the highest rates of COPD were found among office and administrative support workers and those who worked in mining and information industries, according to CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Estimates show that approximately one-quarter of adults with COPD have never smoked. It is believed that up to 53 percent of those cases can be attributed to a variety of workplace exposures including dust, fumes, gases, vapors, second-hand smoke exposure, and other causes.

Participants with COPD were identified by a positive response to a series of questions including:

  • Have you ever been told by a doctor or other health professional that you had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also called COPD?
  • Have you ever been told by a doctor or other health professional that you had emphysema?
  • During the past 12 months, have you been told by a doctor or other health professional that you had chronic bronchitis?

The study also found that people with COPD who never smoked missed almost three times as many days of work per year due to illness when compared to those without COPD.

 

SOURCE: AJMC

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