Many Ignore Symptoms of Lung Disease, Study
THURSDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Americans' awareness of
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is rising, but many of
those at risk don't talk to their doctor about symptoms, according
to a new survey by the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood
Symptoms of COPD -- the third-leading cause of death in the
United States -- include shortness of breath, chronic coughing or
wheezing, excess sputum production and a feeling of not being able
to take a deep breath.
COPD affects 24 million people in the United States, but as many
as half of them haven't been diagnosed.
The NHLBI Internet survey of almost 4,200 adults found that 71
percent of respondents said they are aware of COPD, compared with
65 percent in 2008.
Awareness was highest among those most at risk, current and
former smokers. Awareness was 78 percent among current smokers and
76 percent among former smokers, compared to 69 percent and 68
percent, respectively, in 2008.
The survey also found that 27 percent of current smokers said
they had suffered from a chronic cough or wheezing, or had been too
short of breath to do normal activities in the past year. That's
more than double the rate in the general population (13
However, 40 percent of smokers who said they had these COPD
symptoms had not discussed them with a doctor or other health care
"COPD is surpassing other diseases as a major killer in this country. We want to reverse this trend by educating people about the symptoms, so they can get proper treatment as early as possible," James Kiley, director of the NHLBI Division of Lung Diseases, said in an institute news release.
"It is not enough to have heard of COPD. Those at risk need to know the signs so they can talk to their health care provider about any breathing problems they are having and, hopefully, find relief," he added.
The American Thoracic Society has more about
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