Caribbean Centre for Health Systems Research and Development

"Better Health Systems...Healthier Lives."

The Burden of Obstructive Lung Disease in Trinidad and Tobago (BOLD-TT) Study

COPD is an umbrella term to describe a group of chronic lung diseases, including chronic bronchitis or emphysema, that cause limitations in lung airflow. Airflow limitation is due to an inflammatory response of the lungs to inhaled pollutants. The loss of lung function is progressive and not fully reversible. Individuals with COPD have persistent respiratory symptoms, the most common being difficult or laboured breathing, chronic cough, and excessive phlegm production. Without proper management, patients experience exacerbated symptoms, including frequent chest infections. COPD places a heavy burden on society as the disease.

COPD is largely unrecognized in our population. Unscheduled visits to the doctor or hospital may lead to treatment of the immediate cause (chest infection) while the underlying disease process remains unaddressed and so rehospitalization occurs. As a result, COPD leads to recurrent loss of man hours at the work place and disability.

In 2015, the Burden of Obstructive Lung Disease in Trinidad and Tobago (BOLD-TT) was conducted. BOLD-TT was a national population-based survey to measure prevalence and risk factors of COPD. The objectives of BOLD-TT were to:

  1. To measure the prevalence of COPD and its risk factors in persons aged 40 years and over in Trinidad and Tobago.
  2. To describe the distribution of COPD according to age, sex, smoking history and administrative area.
  3. Describe the main clinical symptoms and co-morbidities reported by participants with COPD.
  4. Estimate the burden of COPD in terms of health status, activity limitation, symptoms, and use of health care services in Trinidad and Tobago.
  5. Measure the prevalence of smoking and diagnosed respiratory diseases in persons aged 18-39 years.

Approximately 49,170 persons in Trinidad and Tobago, aged 40 years and over, suffer from COPD.

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