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Reversibility test crucial to avoid asthma/COPD mix-up

COPD is vastly under-diagnosed and under-treated in primary care, according to GP researchers. A study of 600 patients with symptoms consistent with obstructive lung disease found 40 per cent had COPD, although none had previously been diagnosed.

More than half of these patients had been diagnosed with asthma and another 38 per cent with component diseases of COPD such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

The researchers said the level of misdiagnosis and under diagnosis was 'very concerning' and that varying evidence on symptoms had made diagnosis 'challenging'.

A second study found more than half of patients with symptomatic disease were not treated and that older people who smoked were particularly unlikely to receive treatment.

But lead researcher Dr John O'Reilly, consultant physician at University Hospital Aintree in Liverpool, told delegates patients were nor honest about exacerbations.

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