OBJECTIVE: COPD is a leading cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide. Despite the high rates of cigarette smoking, and the wide use of biomass fuels, there is very little objective data on the prevalence of COPD in Asia. METHODOLOGY: We used a COPD prevalence model to estimate the prevalence of COPD in 12 Asian countries. This model is a validated, computerized tool that uses epidemiological relationships and risk factor prevalence to project the prevalence of COPD within a given population aged 30 years and older. RESULTS: The total number of moderate to severe COPD cases in the 12 countries of this region, as projected by the model, is 56.6 million with an overall prevalence rate of 6.3%. The COPD prevalence rates for the individual countries range from 3.5% (Hong Kong and Singapore) to 6.7% (Vietnam). CONCLUSIONS: The COPD prevalence rates projected by the model reflect the high prevalence of the risk factors for the disease in Asia. The combined prevalence of 6.3% for these countries is considerably higher than the overall rate of 3.8% as extrapolated from WHO data for this region. These estimates highlight the need for further epidemiological studies to support appropriate allocation of resources for the prevention and management of COPD.
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