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Questions Not Focused on Smoking History Can Help Identify COPD

feb2016_004According to a study presented at the European Respiratory Society’s International Congress this past September suggested that there may be a way to identify if an individual is suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) without hounding them with questions about their smoking habits. This tool may even have a way to “speed up the diagnosis time and reveal COPD before serious exacerbations and further loss of function occurs.”

The research team noted that they felt “COPD is under diagnosed, partly due to subpar screening tools that rely on smoking history and patient reported cough and sputum.” They sought to find a screening tool that would help more individuals get diagnosed faster, leading to quicker treatment.

The results of this were a set of five “yes or no” questions that had the ability to identify “whether a person had moderate or severe COPD, or if people were at risk for COPD exacerbations. The questions asked about breathing, how easily a person got tired, and acute respiratory illness.” It was found that the questions were able to not only identify people before they have serious complications of COPD, but also included an assessment of exacerbation risk, as noted by the researchers.

The team also noted that in the future, they hope the questionnaire can “improve how physicians find COPD”, and also pinpoint patients with “more severe disease and those at risk for exacerbations, so they can be treated.” 

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