An on-line survey of 1554 Americans showed that 51% havenever heard of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease(COPD)?the fourth leading killer in the United States. COPD isa lung disease generally associated with smoking, and oftenreferred to as "smoker's lung." The incidence of the disease isrising rapidly, with women accounting for a significant portion ofthe increase. Experts believe that the disease will become thethird leading cause of death in United States by the year 2020.
Of the survey respondents, 500 were either regular or occasionalsmokers, and 790 were women. The survey alsorevealed that 72%, including smokers, did not identify COPD as1 of the top 5 deadly diseases. Almost 66% of the participantsincorrectly believed that COPD caused more deaths in menthan in women. The mortality rate for COPD increased by 148%from 1979 to 2000, with women accounting for a major portionof the disease. These survey results were released by theNational Women's Health Resource Center (NWHRC).
"COPD has increased dramatically?especially in women?yet awareness of the disease remains alarmingly low," said AmyNiles, NWHRC president and chief executive officer. "Not only isthe disease on the rise, but the face of COPD is changing. In2000, for the first time, more women died from COPD than men."