35 Facts About Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Sep 6, 2011

We mark our 35th year in business with a series of fact sheets aimed at raising awareness of debilitating respiratory diseases. 35 Facts About Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diasese (COPD) is the first in the series.

FDA Warns of Fatal Lung Disease (COPD) on Cigarette Labels

FDA Warns of Fatal Lung Disease (COPD) on Cigarette Labels

  1. Chronic lower respiratory disease (CLRD), which includes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma, was the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2008 and 2009, the latest year for which the C.D.C. compiled death statistics.
  2. COPD groups lung conditions that make it progressively worse to empty the air out of the lungs and includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
  3. Generally, signs and symptoms of COPD include persistent cough and mucus production as well as shortness of breath, wheezing, and tightness in the chest.
  4. Between 1998 and 2009, COPD was more prevalent in women than in men.
  5. In the U.S., the most common lung irritant that can lead to COPD is cigarette smoke. Air pollution, chemical fumes, and environmental and workplace dust can also lead to COPD.
  6. Alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency, a rare genetic condition, is believed to have a role in COPD.
  7. In addition to signs and symptoms, a physician may order one or more lung function tests, including spirometry, to diagnose COPD.
  8. Emphysema describes the progressive destruction of air sacs, or alveoli, and the subsequent reduction of surface area available for absorbing oxygen.
  9. COPD prevalence was highest among Puerto Ricans (6.9%) and non-Hispanic white adults (5.7%).
  10. Adults with household income less than the federal poverty level had the highest prevalence of COPD (8.3%) across all racial and ethnic groups. Adults whose household income was twice or more than the federal poverty level had the lowest prevalence (4.3%).
  11. Geographically, East South Central Census division (Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama) had the highest prevalence of COPD (7.5%) and the Pacific division the lowest (3.9%).
  12. About 210 million people worldwide are believed to have moderate to severe COPD, according to a 2007 World Health Organization estimate.
  13. Chronic bronchitis is a type of COPD marked by persistent mucus production, shortness of breath and chest tightness. Like bronchitis, which may accompany a cold or flu, the airways become inflamed and make oxygen delivery to your lungs more difficult.
  14. There’s no cure for COPD. Depending on the severity and progression of the disease, treatment options include smoking cessation, medications such as bronchodilators and corticosteroids, oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation and even lung transplants.
  15. Chronic lower respiratory disease (CLRD), which includes COPD and asthma, is not the third leading cause of death, or in the top five leading causes of death, for age groups 1-24 and 25-44.
  16. CLRD is the third leading cause of death for age group 65 and over, and the fourth leading cause of death for age group 45-64.
  17. Occupational risks, such as coal mine dust and silica (Silicon dioxide), can also lead to COPD.
  18. Severe cases of COPD may even prevent you from walking a short distance.

    Healthy vs. COPD Lungs (Courtesy National Heart Lung and Blood Institute)

    Healthy vs. COPD Lungs (Courtesy National Heart Lung and Blood Institute)

  19. A growing body of studies show a relationship (not a good one) between COPD and GERD, gastroesophageal reflux disease. One might be able to cause the other and/or exacerbate the other.
  20. People with COPD might be at increased risk of a heart attack or stroke.
  21. In 2000, COPD led to 8 million visits to the doctor, 1.5 million E.R. visits, 726,000 hospitalizations and 119,000 deaths.
  22. In 2005, an estimated 126,005 deaths of adults 25 years and older were attributed to COPD.
  23. Over 3 million people, or 5% of all deaths worldwide, died of COPD in 2005.
  24. Nearly 90% of all COPD deaths are in low- and middle-incoming countries, according to the World Health Organization.
  25. The United States had the second-highest death rate for COPD among 16 industrialized nations in 2006-2007.
  26. In the U.S., 1 death every 4 minutes is attributed to COPD.
  27. Adult female motor vehicle operators are estimated to have the highest COPD prevalence rate in the U.S. followed by mechanics and repairers.
  28. In 2010, the direct cost of COPD was projected to be $29.5 billion, including $13.2 billion in hospital care, $5.5 billion in physicians services, $5.8 billion on prescription drugs, $1.3 billion in home health care, and $3.7 billion on nursing home care.
  29. The total projected economic cost of COPD for 2010 was $49.9 billion, including $29.5 billion in health care expenditures, $8.0 billion in morbidity cost (such as lost productivity and income), and $12.4 billion in mortality cost.
  30. By 2030, COPD is projected to become the fifth leading cause of burden of disease after unipolar depressive disorders, ischaemic heart disease, traffic accidents and cerebrovascular disease.
  31. Between 2006 and 2026, medical expenditure related to COPD will total $832.9 billion, according to one study.
  32. The F.D.A. estimates that 90 percent of all deaths from COPD are caused by smoking.
  33. One in four people over 35 is likely to develop COPD, a new study shows.
  34. Lifetime risk for COPD is twice that of congestive heart failure and as high as four times a heart attack, the same study found.
  35. Women and men in their mid-30s are three to four times as likely to develop COPD as breast cancer and prostate cancer, respectively.

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