Poll Reveals Lack of COPD Awareness

Published Online: Wednesday, September 1, 2004

An on-line survey of 1554 Americans showed that 51% have never heard of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)?the fourth leading killer in the United States. COPD is a lung disease generally associated with smoking, and often referred to as "smoker's lung." The incidence of the disease is rising rapidly, with women accounting for a significant portion of the increase. Experts believe that the disease will become the third leading cause of death in United States by the year 2020.

Of the survey respondents, 500 were either regular or occasional smokers, and 790 were women. The survey also revealed that 72%, including smokers, did not identify COPD as 1 of the top 5 deadly diseases. Almost 66% of the participants incorrectly believed that COPD caused more deaths in men than in women. The mortality rate for COPD increased by 148% from 1979 to 2000, with women accounting for a major portion of the disease. These survey results were released by the National Women's Health Resource Center (NWHRC).

"COPD has increased dramatically?especially in women? yet awareness of the disease remains alarmingly low," said Amy Niles, NWHRC president and chief executive officer. "Not only is the disease on the rise, but the face of COPD is changing. In 2000, for the first time, more women died from COPD than men."

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