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If you have been diagnosed with COPD, could potentially be at risk for this disease or know someone who could potentially be at risk, it can be helpful to learn more about it. Educating yourself and learning how to prevent the development of COPD, or the worsening of symptoms, can be profoundly beneficial to your health. Here are some COPD facts and statistics, as well as symptoms and treatments, that you should know about.
COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It is an umbrella term for a group of progressive lung diseases that impact your breathing. Typically included under the COPD umbrella are:
Generally speaking, people with COPD will have emphysema or chronic bronchitis, but not necessarily asthma. However, they may also experience a combination of two or three of these conditions. Most notably, these conditions make it difficult to breathe comfortably and get the oxygen your body needs, which is why COPD can be so debilitating.
There are some key COPD facts to understand, according to the American Lung Association (ALA):
COPD is a chronic, progressive lung disease that can be a combination of several conditions that fall under the COPD category. Once you understand the basics, it can also be helpful to know a bit more about the disease and how it impacts people. Below, you’ll see some relevant COPD facts and statistics regarding the prevalence of the disease and how it affects those living with it.
COPD is probably more common than you may think, and more than likely, it’s more common than the numbers indicate.
While the numbers are already significant, it is estimated that millions more have COPD and don’t know it. In fact, between 2007 and 2010, approximately 8.5 million people in the United States had been diagnosed with COPD, but more than 18 million people had the kind of evidence of impaired lung function that is consistent with a COPD diagnosis.3
Because COPD is a chronic and progressive disease, the health care costs can be significant.
As COPD continues to progress, it can eventually progress to the point that it becomes life-threatening.
COPD is a preventable disease, so it can be helpful to know what the risk factors are for developing COPD, as well as who is at a higher risk for it. If you are at risk, you can take preventative steps and you may even be able to avoid developing COPD. If you do develop COPD, however, it can affect your quality of your life.
COPD rates can vary depending on a number of different factors in a person’s life.
COPD eventually limits your ability to easily participate in your life without medical interventions. As a result, there is a significant effect on your quality of life.
COPD tends to be underdiagnosed both because patients ignore early signs of COPD and because early COPD can be misdiagnosed. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that more than 50% of adults with low pulmonary function are not aware that they have COPD. Because of this, it can be helpful to know what to look out for so that you can see your doctor if you have signs of COPD.
The most common symptoms you should look for are: 10
Although these symptoms are the most common, it is not guaranteed that every patient will have every one of them. If you are experiencing any problems breathing or with a cough that will not go away, you should see your pulmonary doctor to make an accurate diagnosis.
The COPD statistics above are sobering, so it is understandable if you are struggling with the reality of a COPD diagnosis. However, while COPD may not be curable, with the right treatment, it is manageable. In fact, with successful treatment, many people with COPD can continue living long and active lives. Depending on the stage of the disease when it is diagnosed, the five-year expectancy for COPD patients is between 40-70%. The earlier you catch it and the faster you seek treatment, the higher your life expectancy is likely to be and the better your quality of life.
As such, it is important to talk with your doctor right away if you suspect that you might have COPD, or if your COPD symptoms worsen. You do not have to accept difficulty breathing as a fact of life. Find out what treatments, including oxygen therapy, may benefit you. If you are prescribed oxygen therapy, contact Inogen to find out how our products can help you improve your freedom, mobility and independence. Breathe better and improve your quality of life with COPD with Inogen today.
Oxygen. Anytime. Anywhere.
Sources cited: “Types of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.” Stanford Health Care (SHC) , Stanford Medical Center, 12 Sept. 2017, stanfordhealthcare.org/medical-conditions/chest-lungs-and-airways/chronic-obstructive-pulmonary-disease/types.html.  “Learn About COPD.” American Lung Association, American Lung Association, Updated 5 Mar. 2021, www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/copd/learn-about-copd.  “COPD Prevalence.” American Lung Association, American Lung Association, Accessed 18 May 2021, www.lung.org/research/trends-in-lung-disease/copd-trends-brief/copd-prevalence.  “Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, 1 Dec. 2017, www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/chronic-obstructive-pulmonary-disease-(copd).  “FastStats – Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 14 Apr. 2021, www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/copd.htm.  “COPD Costs.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 21 Feb. 2018, www.cdc.gov/copd/infographics/copd-costs.html.  “COPD Mortality.” American Lung Association, American Lung Association, Accessed 18 May 2021, www.lung.org/research/trends-in-lung-disease/copd-trends-brief/copd-mortality.  “What Causes COPD.” American Lung Association, American Lung Association, 5 Mar. 2021, www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/copd/what-causes-copd.  “COPD Risk Factors and Patient Characteristics.” American Lung Association, American Lung Association, Accessed 18 May 2021, www.lung.org/research/trends-in-lung-disease/copd-trends-brief/copd-risk-factors. [10 ]“CDC – Basics About COPD – Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 19 July 2019, www.cdc.gov/copd/basics-about.html.  “COPD Symptoms.” American Lung Association, American Lung Association, 5 Mar. 2021, www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/copd/symptoms-diagnosis.  Jacob, Divya. “What Is the Life Expectancy of Someone With COPD?” MedicineNet, MedicineNet, 7 Aug. 2020, www.medicinenet.com/what_is_the_life_expectancy_of_someone_with_copd/article.htm.