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1.  Quality of life in smokers: focus on functional limitations rather than on lung function? 
Background
The Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) classification of severity of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is based solely on obstruction and does not capture physical functioning. The hypothesis that the Medical Research Council (MRC) dyspnoea scale would correlate better with quality of life than the level of airflow limitation was examined.
Aim
To study the associations between quality of life in smokers and limitations in physical functioning (MRC dyspnoea scale) and, quality of life and airflow limitation (GOLD COPD stages).
Design
Cross-sectional study.
Setting
The city of IJsselstein, a small town in the centre of The Netherlands.
Method
Male smokers aged 40–65 years without a prior diagnosis of COPD and enlisted with a general practice, participated in this study. Quality of life was assessed by means of a generic (SF–36) and a disease-specific, questionnaire (QOLRIQ).
Results
A total of 395 subjects (mean age 55.4 years, pack years 27.1) performed adequate spirometry and completed the questionnaires. Limitations of physical functioning according to the MRC dyspnoea scale were found in 25.1 % (99/395) of the participants and airflow limitation in 40.2% (159/395). The correlations of limitations of physical functioning with all quality-of-life components were stronger than the correlations of all quality-of-life subscales with the severity of airflow limitation.
Conclusion
In middle-aged smokers the correlation of limitations of physical functioning (MRC dyspnoea scale) with quality of life was stronger than the correlation of the severity of airflow limitation with quality of life. Future staging systems of severity of COPD should capture this and not rely on forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) alone.
PMCID: PMC2078172  PMID: 17550673
dyspnoea; FEV1; middle-aged; FEV1; quality of life; smokers
2.  Incidence and determinants of moderate COPD (GOLD II) in male smokers aged 40–65 years: 5-year follow up 
Background
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a major health problem with an estimated prevalence of 10–15% among smokers. The incidence of moderate COPD, as defined by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD), is largely unknown.
Aim
To determine the cumulative incidence of moderate COPD (forced expiratory volume in 1 second/forced vital capacity ratio [FEV1/FVC] <0.7 and FEV1 <80% predicted) and its association with patient characteristics in a cohort of male smokers.
Design
Prospective cohort study.
Setting
The city of IJsselstein, a small town in the Netherlands.
Method
Smokers aged 40–65 years who were registered with local GPs, participated in a study to identify undetected COPD. Baseline measurements were taken in 1998 of 399 smokers with normal spirometry (n = 292) or mild COPD (FEV1/FVC <0.7 and FEV1 ≥80% predicted, n = 107) and follow-up measurements were conducted in 2003.
Results
After a mean follow-up of 5.2 years, 33 participants developed moderate COPD (GOLD II). This showed an estimated cumulative incidence of 8.3% (95% CI = 5.8 to 11.4) and a mean annual incidence of 1.6%. No participant developed severe airflow obstruction. The risk of developing moderate COPD in smokers with baseline mild COPD (GOLD I) was five times higher than in those with baseline normal spirometry (one in five versus one in 25).
Conclusions
In a cohort of middle-aged male smokers, the estimated cumulative incidence of moderate COPD (GOLD II) over 5 years was relatively high (8.3%). Age, childhood smoking, cough, and one or more GP contacts for lower respiratory tract problems were independently associated with incident moderate COPD.
PMCID: PMC1876630  PMID: 16953996
incidence; middle-age; moderate COPD; patient characteristics; smokers

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