Date of Conferral
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a progressive and nonreversible disease, is a leading cause of mortality and morbidity throughout the world. Detecting COPD early in the disease process will help in decreasing later stage COPD severity. Because airway inflammation is a hallmark of COPD, it has been proposed that measuring exhaled nitric oxide, a marker of inflammation, in exhaled breath condensate could prove to be an inexpensive and efficient method to detect COPD in outpatient settings. Using the hypothetico-deductive theory as a guideline, this study used secondary data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2007 to 2010 to test the association between exhaled nitric oxide (eNO), COPD, and COPD severity. In addition, this study explored whether occupation modifies the association between eNO and COPD. Descriptive statistics, chi-square analyses, and regression analyses were used to analyze data from a sample size of 10,214 individuals. The prevalence of COPD was 7.2%, based on self-reported physician diagnoses and 11.4% based on prebronchodilator spirometry analysis, strengthening the argument that COPD is often under- or misdiagnosed in clinical settings. This study found no statistically significant association between eNO, COPD, and COPD severity, and occupational status did not appear to modify the association between eNO and COPD. The findings of this study highlight the importance of using objective measures such as spirometry in clinical settings for early diagnosis and management of COPD. Early diagnosis helps to slow the progression of the disease, resulting in fewer related comorbidities and complications.