May 12, 2015
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic respiratory disease also known as the Silent Killer. The early stages of COPD are almost always unnoticeable as most people attribute the symptoms to an illness, old age, being out of shape, and/or smoking. As the disease progresses the symptoms become more prevalent and harder to manage.
With COPD being a progressive disease catching it as early as possible gives you the best chance at managing your symptoms and living a full life. However, it’s easy to see why the disease gets overlooked until the later stages because the early symptoms are; a persistent cough that is typically worse in the morning, increased mucus production, wheezing, fatigue, and frequent flare-ups of symptoms. Most of which can easily be attributed to something other than COPD.
In 2008 COPD surpassed strokes as the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States and it shows no signs of slowing down, even with recent advances in medicine and technology. In fact, COPD became the 3rd leading cause of death 12 years earlier than the Centers for Disease Control predicted.
The good news is, for the most part, COPD is a preventable disease. With the exception of Alpha-1, COPD can be prevented by not smoking and reducing or eliminating your exposure to pollution and occupational dust/gas. Despite the stigma that everyone with COPD smokes/smoked, an estimated 20% of people suffering from COPD have never smoked before. So, how can we reverse the trend?
The first step to fighting a chronic disease like COPD is raising education and awareness efforts. By raising education and awareness we can better manage and treat the disease nationwide. Hopefully this will eventually reverse the trend.
This infographic provided by 1st Class Medical shows the shocking truth about COPD in the United States and will put the state of COPD awareness into perspective: