Association between Asthma-COPD Overlap & High Rates of Comorbid Conditions found

According to a recent study, Comorbid conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and eczema are extremely common in individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease syndrome, and asthma (asthma-COPD overlap),

The asthma-COPD overlap is when an individual displays symptoms & characteristics of both asthma and COPD. It has been long recognized in clinical practice, however, such individuals are often excluded from clinical researches, which makes assessing & managing this population hard.

The term ‘Asthma COPD Overlap Syndrome’ was first suggested in 2014 by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) & the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA). GOLD & GINA mapped out eleven clinical characteristics which can be employed to help in the identification of asthma-COPD overlaps, such as lung function, age, & comorbid conditions. Since other groups have issued different criteria for the diagnosis of asthma-COPD overlap, so its prevalence is vague and varies depending on the criteria.

The research, which was conducted by the Respiratory Effectiveness Group, involved 2165 individuals who were of age 40 or plus with at least two outpatient primary care visits over a period of two years. The data was collected from the UK’s Optimum Patient Care Research Database. Patients were sorted into three groups: asthma only, both asthma and COPD, and COPD only.

The overall prevalence of Asthma–COPD overlap in the study population was 20%. It was found by investigators that the majority were men with an average age of 70 years. All the patients were smokers and 66% were obese or overweight. In term of comorbid diseases, 36% had cardiovascular disease, 53% had diabetes, 30% had hypertension, 21% had rhinitis, and 23% had eczema.

The report stated that the observations suggest that the source population from which individuals with asthma-COPD overlap are identified might contribute to heterogeneity, in estimates of demographics, health outcomes, prevalence, and clinical characteristics. There’s a need for additional studies to confirm this.