College education and alcohol consumption may be linked to risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Researchers from Kaiser Permanente Medical Group in Oakland, California, followed 126,019 people who supplied baseline data from 1978 – 1985 through 2008 with analyses of hospitalizations attributed to COPD (emphysema, chronic bronchitis, or chronic airway obstruction).
Although cigarette smoking, increasing age, and history of respiratory disease/symptoms were powerful predictors of COPD, results also showed that Asian Americans (vs whites) and college graduates (vs no college) were at a moderately lower risk for COPD, as were persons reporting 1 to 2 drinks per day (vs lifelong abstainers).
Researchers conclude that further study should lead to better understanding of pathophysiology and to targeting of therapy for COPD. This study was presented during CHEST 2012, the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians, held October 20 – 25, in Atlanta, Georgia.