The number of people diagnosed with bronchiectasis has risen considerably in the past decade and now affects more than 1% of UK pensioners, according to a new study by University College London Hospitals (UCLH) and others.

The new research, published in the European Respiratory Journal, used anonymized GP records covering 14 million patients from across the UK to identify those with a diagnosis of bronchiectasis.

The research found that bronchiectasis is surprisingly common and becoming more common, especially in older people. The disease affected approximately 0.6% of people aged 70 or over in 2004, but this increased to 1.2% in 2013. The condition was more common in women and among people with higher socio-economic status. Furthermore, the mortality rates in people with bronchiectasis were twice as high as mortality rates in the general population.