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Chronic Pulmonary Diseases

Chronic diseases of the lung include primarily chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and bronchial asthma. You will find information on lung cancer in the section “Cancer”.

According to WHO, COPD is in fourth place worldwide in terms of illnesses which cause the most fatalities, and in sixth place in Germany (2007).

COPD and bronchial asthma are associated with a significantly lower quality of life in affected persons. They cause high medical costs, both directly and indirectly, due to more frequent utilisation of the health system, permanent medication, time off work due to illness, rehabilitation measures, early retirement and premature death.

Exact data on the prevalence of COPD in Germany is not available, because the definition of the disease is derived from the detection of chronic bronchitis in combination with permanent constriction of the lower respiratory tract, with or without pulmonary emphysema (distension of the lung due to an irreversible enlargement of tiny air sacs in the lung).

10-15% of adults in Germany are affected by chronic bronchitis, while 10-15% of children and 5-7% of the adult population suffer from bronchial asthma.

Activities at Robert Koch Institute

In the framework of the health monitoring programme, Robert Koch Institute regularly collects data on the two chronic pulmonary diseases chronic bronchitis and bronchial asthma.

In addition, this data can be linked to further information given by participants in the study, such as socio-demographic data, data on place of residence and data on a range of environmental conditions.

The acquired data permits the investigation of correlations between chronic pulmonary diseases and the living conditions of affected persons as well as known or suspected influencing factors.

Furthermore, statements can be made both on the medication of affected persons and on the utilisation of the health system. Statements on the treatment of both disease types in compliance with guidelines are also possible.


Asthma management practices in adults – findings from the German Health Update (GEDA) 2010 and the German National Health Interview and Examination Survey (DEGS1) 2008–2011 (Abstract)

Steppuhn H, Langen U, Mueters S, Dahm S, Knopf H, Keil T, Scheidt-Nave C (2016) J Asthma 53(1): 50-61 · DOI: 10.3109/02770903.2015.1059853

Asthma and Sensitization Pattern in Children.

Langen U (2012) In: Allergic Diseases - Highlights in the Clinic, Mechanisms and Treatment. ISBN 978-953-51-0227-4