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To Your Health: November is COPD Awareness Month

by UofL Physicians-Insider last modified Nov 04, 2013 02:47 PM

COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is the third leading cause of death in the United States, and Kentucky holds a high burden with the disease.

Kentucky ranks #1 in the nation with the highest:

• Overall adult COPD prevalence rate in the country

• Cigarette use among youth ages 12 to 17

• Smoking attributable adult mortality

COPD is underdiagnosed and undertreated, especially for women who have a bigger problem than men getting a proper diagnosis. Women are also 37 percent more likely to have COPD and account for more than half of COPD deaths in America, said Rodney Folz, MD, with UofL Physicians – Pulmonary/Critical Care Medicine.

If you have COPD, there is an increased chance of having cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, lung cancer, depression, metabolic syndrome and skeletal muscle dysfunction.

The rise of COPD is tied to the success of tobacco industry marketing campaigns. Smoking is the main risk factor for COPD, but other risk factors include exposure to dust, chemicals, second-hand smoke and air pollution.

The best way to screen for COPD is to perform a simple office-based measurement of pulmonary function testing called “spirometry.”

Smoking cessation, daily exercise, staying up-to-date on vaccinations, following a healthy heart diet and one that maintains healthy bones and using bronchodilators for symptom relief may help people with COPD.

For more information, to make an appointment or refer a patient to UofL Physicians – Pulmonary/Critical Care Medicine, call 502-813-6500.

Editor’s Note: UofL Today reprints To Your Health articles from the “UofL Physicians-Insider” newsletter. Read the entire November issue (opens as a PDF document).

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