Chronic airflow obstruction (CAO) is the primary characteristic of Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) but is also seen in chronic asthma.
To compare the prevalence of CAO and possible risk factors between Tartu in Estonia, Reykjavik in Iceland and Uppsala in Sweden.
All participants underwent spirometry testing of forced expiratory volume in 1?s (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC) before and after bronchodilation. CAO was defined as post-bronchodilator FEV1/FVC below lower limit of normal. Information on respiratory diseases and smoking status, was obtained through questionnaires administered by trained interviewers.
1037 men and 956 women participated in the study. The prevalence of CAO was lower in women in Tartu compared to the other centres (4.9% vs. 13.4 and 8.7% in Reykjavik and Uppsala, respectively, p?=?0.002) while no difference was found for men. A similar picture was seen for the proportion of participants that had smoked 10 pack years or more which was much lower in Tartu for women than in Reykjavik and Uppsala, respectively (13.2% vs. 33.7 and 29.2%, p?