You can take steps to prevent COPD before it starts. If you already have COPD, you can take steps to prevent complications and slow the progress of the disease.
The best way to prevent COPD is to not start smoking or to quit smoking. Smoking is the leading cause of COPD. If you smoke, talk with your doctor about programs and products that can help you quit.
If you have trouble quitting smoking on your own, consider joining a support group. Many hospitals, workplaces, and community groups offer classes to help people quit smoking. Ask your family members and friends to support you in your efforts to quit.
Also, try to avoid lung irritants that can contribute to COPD. Examples include secondhand smoke, air pollution, chemical fumes, and dust. (Secondhand smoke is smoke in the air from other people smoking.)
For more information about how to quit smoking, go to the Health Topics Smoking and Your Heart article and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's "Your Guide to a Healthy Heart." Although these resources focus on heart health, they include basic information about how to quit smoking.
If you have COPD, the most important step you can take is to quit smoking. Quitting can help prevent complications and slow the progress of the disease. You also should avoid exposure to the lung irritants mentioned above.
Follow your treatments for COPD exactly as your doctor prescribes. They can help you breathe easier, stay more active, and avoid or manage severe symptoms.
Talk with your doctor about whether and when you should get flu (influenza) and pneumonia vaccines. These vaccines can lower your chances of getting these illnesses, which are major health risks for people who have COPD.
The NHLBI "Grand Opportunity" Exome Sequencing Project
Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. To find clinical trials that are currently underway for COPD, visit www.clinicaltrials.gov.
November 21, 2012
CDC and NIH survey provides first report of state-level COPD prevalence
The age-adjusted prevalence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) varies considerably within the United States, from less than 4 percent of the population in Washington and Minnesota to more than 9 percent in Alabama and Kentucky. These state-level rates are among the COPD data available for the first time as part of the newly released 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey.
If you have COPD or think you might be at risk, you can take steps to make breathing easier and live a longer and more active life. Get a simple breathing test and talk with your doctor or health care provider about treatment options.
The NHLBI developed the national COPD Learn More Breathe Better® campaign to increase awareness of COPD. The campaign aims to help people with COPD and those at risk get diagnosed early, understand their treatment options, and live better with the disease.
Learn more about key campaign events, activities, and resources.
The NHLBI updates Health Topics articles on a biennial cycle based on a thorough review of research findings and new literature. The articles also are updated as needed if important new research is published. The date on each Health Topics article reflects when the content was originally posted or last revised.