Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is one of the most serious conditions affecting people’s health today. And although the disease has been contracted by millions of Americans, many know very little about COPD, how it affects their health, or how to treat the illness.
If you or a loved one has contracted COPD, don’t lose hope – there are options available for treatment, and work is being done right now to find a cure.
If you’re unfamiliar with COPD, here are some important things you should know.
1. COPD Refers to Several Conditions
COPD is a broad term used to categorize conditions that limit a person’s breathing capacity, which gets progressively worse in the long term. The term ‘COPD’ includes progressive diseases such as emphysema, refractory asthma, and chronic bronchitis. Tobacco smoking is by far the most common cause of COPD, accounting for about 90 percent of COPD sufferers.
2. It is the Third Leading Cause of Death in the U.S.
COPD accounted for 147,101 deaths in 2014, according to the CDC, with only cancer and heart disease claiming more victims. More than 11 million people have been diagnosed with the disease in the U.S., according to the American Lung Association, and millions more may suffer from COPD without yet knowing it.
3. All Forms of COPD Include Similar Symptoms
The main symptoms of COPD include shortness of breath, a productive cough, fatigue, and sputum production, over a prolonged period. In its later stages, COPD sufferers may have difficulty climbing stairs or lifting objects they previously had no problem with.
4. COPD Can Affect More Than Just the Lungs
Because of mutual risk factors, COPD can result in an increased risk of heart disease, lung cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, sexual dysfunction, osteoporosis, and depression.
5. There is Currently No Cure for COPD
At this point, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is not curable. There are steps that someone diagnosed with COPD can take to slow its progression, but there is no cure at the present time.
6. Women are More Likely to be Misdiagnosed
Studies by the ALA have shown that women are more likely than men to contract COPD. Reasons for this could be doctors misdiagnosing them with asthma, smaller lungs, and the way estrogen interacts with nicotine.
7. Some Occupations May Put You at a Higher Risk
Most cases of COPD stem from smoking, but more than 16,000 workers die from job-related lung disease each year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Some jobs with increased risk include construction, firefighting, textile manufacturing, transportation, and mining.
8. COPD Can be Managed
While there is no cure for COPD, its symptoms can be mitigated with oxygen treatment, anti-depressants, corticosteroids to deal with flare ups, and of course, quitting smoking.
9. Quitting Smoking After Diagnosis Can Still Help
While some sufferers of COPD believe it’s too late and they might as well keep lighting up, smoking cessation is the only method that has been shown to slow down the disease’s progression among smokers.
10. Testing is Going on Right Now to Find a Cure
Aventiv Research and other experts in the field are working incessantly to advance our understanding and treatment of COPD. Through clinical trials, we are seeking new drug therapies, ascertaining what contributes to COPD progression, and a number of other topics.
We are always in search of participants for these clinical trials, who are crucial to learning more about this devastating disease. Interested in becoming a volunteer for an Aventiv COPD clinical trial? Discover if you’d make a good fit for our study today.
Learn More About COPD Clinical Trials