University of Toronto researchers show that levels of anxiety are up to three times higher in older adults with COPD than in patients without the condition.

Researchers from the University of Toronto studied a sample of more than 11,000 patients in order to investigate the independent relationship between COPD and anxiety in adults. The patients, who were aged 50 and older, were measured for sociodemographic factors, social support, health behaviors, sleep problems, pain, functional limitations and early childhood adversities. More than 700 adults reported their COPD diagnosis during the 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey.

The researchers found that one in 17 adults with COPD had anxiety within the past year, or about 5.8 percent. When the researchers adjusted for age, sex and race, the anxiety levels were four times higher for COPD patients than for those without (about 3.90). When the researchers adjusted for all 18 characteristics they measured for, the odds declined to 1.72 between COPD and non COPD patients.

“Even after accounting for 18 possible risk factors for GAD, individuals with COPD still had 70 percent higher odds of GAD compared to those without COPD,” lead author, Professor Esme Fuller-Thomson said in a press release.

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