Overweight and obesity may lead to under-diagnosis of airflow limitation: findings from the Copenhagen City Heart Study

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BACKGROUND: The prevalence of obesity has increased during the last decades and varies from 10-20% in most European countries to approximately 32% in the United States. However, data on how obesity affects the presence of airflow limitation (AFL) defined as a reduced ratio between forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC) are scarce.

METHODS: Data was derived from the third examination of the Copenhagen City Heart Study from 1991 until 1994 (n = 10,135). We examine the impact of different adiposity markers (weight, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, waist-hip ratio, and abdominal height) on AFL. AFL was defined in four ways: FEV1/FVC ratio < 0.70, FEV1/FVC ratio < lower limit of normal (LLN), FEV1/FVC ratio <0.70 including at least one respiratory symptom, and FEV1/FVC ratio < LLN and FEV1% of predicted < LLN.

RESULTS: All adiposity markers were positively and significantly associated with FEV1/FVC independent of age, sex, height, smoking status, and cumulative tobacco consumption. Among all adiposity markers, BMI was the strongest predictor of FEV1/FVC. FEV1/FVC increased with 0.04 in men and 0.03 in women, as BMI increased with 10 units (kg · m-2). Consequently, diagnosis of AFL was significantly less likely in subjects with BMI ≥ 25 kg · m-2 with odds ratios 0.63 or less compared to subjects with BMI between 18.5-24.9 kg · m-2 when AFL was defined as FEV1/FVC < 0.70.

CONCLUSION: High BMI reduces the probability of AFL. Ultimately, this may result in under-diagnosis and under-treatment of COPD among individuals with overweight and obesity.

TidsskriftC O P D
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)5-13
Antal sider9
StatusUdgivet - 2015

ID: 135785110