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Low prevalence of diagnosed COPD in Greenland

28. June 2023

A new study shows that the incidence of people diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is low in Greenland. Read more here.

What is COPD?

COPD is a chronic disease of the lungs in which the airways are narrowed and the lung tissue is destroyed. COPD develops over many years. This can be felt as coughing and sputum, shortness of breath and frequent infections in the lungs. Treatment consists of smoking cessation, medication and physical activity.

Briefly about the study:
In this study, we have used data from the electronic health record to find out how many people in Greenland have been diagnosed with COPD. In addition, we have examined their treatment quality.

What did the study show?
By 2022, 884 people had been diagnosed with COPD in Greenland. The prevalence of people with diagnosed COPD aged 20–79 years in Greenland in 2022 was 2.2%. This means that 2.2% of the population between the ages of 20 and 79 had been diagnosed with COPD in 2022. There were several in Nuuk who had been diagnosed compared to residents in the rest of Greenland. More women than men had COPD. The quality of treatment was higher in Nuuk for the majority of the factors examined, compared to the rest of Greenland.


The prevalence of COPD in Greenland is lower than in other comparable populations and may be underestimated. It is recommended that there continue to be a focus on early detection of new cases as well as initiatives to improve and extend the monitoring of treatment quality.

Read the research article here