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The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, in partnership with other agencies in the COPD community, is launching a campaign to increase awareness of COPD.
SCHMALFELDT:It's the fourth-leading cause of death in the United States. One out of four Americans over age 45 suffers from it. And chances are, you've never heard of it. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, otherwise known as COPD, affects an estimated 12 million Americans who have been diagnosed with it, and another estimated 12 million who are believed to have the disease but have not been diagnosed. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, in partnership with other agencies in the COPD community, is launching a campaign to increase awareness of this disease, which experts believe will become the third leading cause of death in the US by 2020. Here's Dr. James Kiley, director of the Division of Lung Diseases at the NHLBI.
KILEY: The goal is to increase awareness and understanding of COPD and its risk factors and to underscore the benefits of early detection and treatment. The campaign will have a number of materials — fact sheets for COPD patients and those at risk, reference cards for health professionals, resources for community-based organizations, a website, radio and print PSAs — there's lots of things that will be made available to the community to get more information about this disease.
SCHMALFELDT: In COPD, the airways that carry air in and out of the lungs become partially blocked, making it difficult to breathe. COPD develops slowly and can worsen over time. COPD is often characterized by shortness of breath. Other symptoms include constant coughing, sometimes called "smoker's cough," excess sputum production, and wheezing. COPD is sometimes referred to as emphysema or chronic bronchitis. People over age 45 with a history of smoking are at risk for COPD. In addition to smoking, other environmental exposures like pollutants or secondhand smoke can contribute to the disease. For more information on COPD and the COPD Learn More Breathe Better® campaign please visit: www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/copd/. From the National Institutes of Health, I'm Bill Schmalfeldt in Bethesda, Maryland.
Reporter: Bill Schmalfeldt
Sound Bite: Dr. James Kiley