Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: It takes your breath away
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. It's expected to take about 126,000 lives this year, making it the only one of the 10 leading killers that's increasing each year. And COPD is also a major cause of disability since some 24 million Americans suffer from the condition; although it has traditionally been a predominantly male disease, COPD is on the rise in American women.
COPD is not curable, but it is treatable. Lifestyle changes and medication can help patients cope with chronic lung disease and live longer, fuller lives. And if you understand COPD, you'll know that most cases can be prevented.