We keep track of published statistics of various conditions and starting with COPD I thought it would be useful to share them.  We plan to publish updates on a quarterly basis and will add other conditions in due course.



Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the name for a collection of lung diseases including chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive airways disease.  People with COPD have difficulties breathing, primarily due to the narrowing of their airways, this is called airflow obstruction.  Typical symptoms of COPD include:

  • increasing breathlessness when active;
  • a persistent cough with phlegm;
  • frequent chest infections1.


  • 1m currently diagnosed with COPD5
  • Estimated 2m undiagnosed4
  • 80% of people with COPD currently have at least one other long-term condition3
  • Costs the NHS an estimated £1.2 billion per annum in 20106
  • COPD is the fifth biggest killer disease in the UK, killing approximately 25,000 people a year in England.2
  • Second largest cause of emergency admission in the UK11
  • Accounts for more than one million ‘bed days’ each year in hospitals in the UK11
  • One in 8 people over 35 has COPD that has not been properly identified or diagnosed, and over 15% are only diagnosed when they present to hospital as an emergency.3

Rest of World

  • Around 210 million people have COPD13
  • Globally more than 3 million people died of COPD in 2012 (6% of all deaths)8
  • Prevalence (% of the population)
    • USA- 6.3%14
    • India- 6.5%15
    • China- 8.2%16


  1. NHS Choices – Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (Accessed June 2015)
  2. NHS Five Year Forward View (Accessed June 2015)
  3. An Outcomes Strategy for COPD and Asthma, NHS Companion Document 2012 (Accessed June 2015)
  4. An evaluation of screening for COPD against the National Screening Committee criteria, 2012 (Accessed June 2015)
  5. Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) for April 2013 – March 2014, England Accessed June 2015 (Accessed June 2015)
  6. COPD could cost UK economy £1.2bn, Nursing Times July 2010 (Accessed June 2015)
  7. Burden of COPD, WHO (Accessed June 2015)
  8. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Fact sheet N°315, WHO (Accessed June 2015)
  9. CDC reports annual financial cost of COPD to be $36 billion in the United States, American College of Chest Physicians, July 2014 (Accessed June 2015)
  10. Lost in translation- bridging the communication gap in COPD a report by the British Lung Foundation 2006 (Accessed June 2015)
  11. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease quality standard, NICE July 2011 Accessed June 2015)
  12. Management of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in Adults in Primary and Secondary Care, National Center for Biotechnology Information 2010 (Accessed June 2015)
  13. Epidemiology and Prevalence of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Enrique Diaz-Guzman, MD, David M. Mannino, MD March 2014, Clinics in Chest Medicine (Accessed June 2015)
  14. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Among Adults — United States, Centre for Disease Control 2011 (Accessed June 2015)
  15. Prevalence of COPD in India: a systematic review. McKay AJ1, Mahesh PA, Fordham JZ, Majeed A 2012 (Accessed June 2015)
  16. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in China: the potential role of indacaterol Jinming Gao, Niyati Prasad Journal of Thoracic Disease 2014 (Accessed June 2015)