COPD is a major public health problem that affects a significant proportion of the elderly population. The diagnosis of COPD in the elderly is complicated by the fact that many patients with the disease ignore or are relatively tolerant of their symptoms and thus do not seek medical attention. Additionally, the absence of a consensus on defining normal lung function cutoffs in this population may hinder detection and recognition of lung function changes that suggest the presence of COPD. Management of COPD should focus on smoking cessation and on implementing both nonpharmacological and pharmacological interventions. However, several diagnostic and management issues specific to the elderly need to be considered. In addition, the course of COPD in elderly patients is often complicated by multiple comorbidities that need to be addressed to optimize treatment outcomes.
Semin Respir Crit Care Med. 2010;31(5):596-606. © 2010 Thieme Medical Publishers
Cite this: COPD in the Elderly Patient - Medscape - Oct 01, 2010.