What is it about?

Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are two common chronic (long-term) lung conditions. Although some symptoms are similar, each disease can be characterised by different traits or characteristics. For example, asthma is associated with allergies, whereas COPD is most often associated with smoking. However, these traits can overlap – e.g., some patients with COPD have allergies and some patients with asthma are smokers. These treatable traits can be linked to the lungs, (e.g., allergies, breathlessness or emphysema), other parts of the body (e.g., obesity, heart disease or gastric reflux), and behavioural or environmental traits (e.g., smoking or pollution). Patients can have many treatable traits, some of which may interact with each other or change over time. Therefore, patients may benefit from treatment that is tailored to these individual traits rather than their overall diagnosis of asthma or COPD (or both). In this global study of over 11,000 patients in clinical practice, we investigated 30 common treatable traits to see how they relate to the overall diagnosis of asthma or COPD (or both). We found that the presence of individual treatable traits varied widely. While several traits were specific to the overall diagnosis and severity of disease, many were not and appeared across all diagnoses. We also found that patients with both asthma and COPD had treatable traits that were associated with asthma and COPD separately.

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Why is it important?

This study provides the largest and most detailed assessment of treatable traits in patients with asthma or COPD (or both). The presence and absence of treatable traits formed a pattern that helped doctors to diagnose patients and assess the severity of their disease.

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This page is a summary of: Treatable traits in the NOVELTY study, Respirology, July 2022, Wiley, DOI: 10.1111/resp.14325.
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