COPD awareness—or lack thereof

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 17 October 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d6287
  1. Andrew Low, specialist trainee year 3, Weston General Hospital, Bristol
  1. andytlow{at}

As a respiratory registrar, I am always surprised when faced with patients in clinic who are unaware of their diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). They will inevitably know if they have had a heart attack, a stroke, diabetes, cancer, asthma, or even if they have “blood pressure” (without which, clinic would clearly be much more stressful). COPD, on the other hand, is a different matter.

“How about emphysema? Have you ever been diagnosed with emphysema?” A proportion does respond with acknowledgment of this condition, and a few …

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