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What You Say Makes a Difference

COPD mortality is rising; it's now the third leading cause of death in the United States. But, early diagnosis and aggressive management can improve quality and length of life for patients.

Look for COPD for COPD in patients 40+ who have these risk factors:

  • Persistent cough or progressive dyspnea
  • Chronic cough or sputum production
  • Decline in level of activity
  • Shortness of breath with or without symptoms of cough or sputum production

Talk with symptomatic patients to learn more about a history of:

  • Smoking
  • Environmental or occupational exposure to irritants
  • Genetic factors

While COPD is more likely among former and current smokers, as many as one out of six Americans with COPD has never smoked.

Test or refer for spirometry to determine severity. Spirometry with bronchodilator testing may distinguish COPD from asthma.

A criterion for COPD diagnosis is a post-bronchodilator FEV1/FVC ‹ 0.7.

Treat from the range of effective therapies, including recent advances. Pro-active treatment can improve quality of life for patients with COPD.

A chart showing the treatment options based on the increasing severity of COPD symptoms.

While 12 million Americans are diagnosed with COPD, research shows that many do not get optimal treatment. Another 12 million may have the disease and remain undiagnosed.

Learn more at copd.nhlbi.nih.gov