What is the incidence of chronic bronchitis in the US?

Updated: Sep 18, 2020
  • Author: Jazeela Fayyaz, DO; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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Answer

According to estimates from national interviews taken by the National Center for Health Statistics in 2006, approximately 9.5 million people, or 4% of the population, were diagnosed with chronic bronchitis. These statistics may underestimate the prevalence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease by as much as 50%, because many patients underreport their symptoms, and their conditions remain undiagnosed.

An overdiagnosis of chronic bronchitis by patients and clinicians has also been suggested, however. The term bronchitis is often used as a common descriptor for a nonspecific and self-limited cough, thereby falsely increasing its incidence even though the patient does not meet the criteria for diagnosis.


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