A national study has found that China has nearly 100 million people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Thursday's China Daily reported.
The findings made the respiratory condition among the country's biggest public health concerns, said the report.
According to the study published recently in the international medical journal The Lancet, 8.6 percent of nearly 51,000 participants 20 years or older had the disease, with the elderly and smokers at higher risk. More than 40 percent of smokers over 60 have COPD.
People with COPD are more likely to develop heart disease, lung cancer and many other health conditions.
"The study further alerts us to the severity of COPD, an underestimated health threat here, and one that is expected to rise further due to the heavy smoking epidemic and aging trend," said Wang Chen, a top Chinese respiratory disease expert who leads the study.
Numbers from China's National Health Commission showed that COPD killed more than 870,000 Chinese in 2016, about 9 percent of disease-related deaths.