Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a type of obstructive lung disease characterized by long-term poor airflow. The main symptoms include shortness of breath and cough and sputum (mucus) production. COPD is a progressive disease, which means it usually worsens over time. Eventually everyday activities, such as walking up stairs, become difficult. Tobacco smoking is the most common cause of COPD, with factors such as air pollution playing a smaller role. Diagnosis is based on poor airflow as measured by lung function tests. Most cases of COPD can be prevented by reducing exposure to risk factors, such as smoking cessation and improving air quality. There is no current cure for COPD. Some people may benefit from long term oxygen therapy or lung transplantation.
As of 2013, COPD affects nearly 329 million people- nearly 5% of the global population. In the same year it resulted in 2.9 million deaths, up from 2.4 million in 1990. More than 90% of these deaths occur in the developing world due to higher smoking rates. The global economic cost was $2.1 trillion in 2010.
People with COPD may be restricted by their disease in terms of achieving life goals, maintaining an active social life, or caring for their family. In addition to severely impacting a person's quality of life, loss of activity in patients can have a serious economic impact at a societal level. Here are 8 ways in which COPD can impact individuals, families, and the country as a whole:
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease - Impact #1: Back to the Hospital
50% of the survivors of a first COPD-related hospitalization return to the hospital within 6 months.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease - Impact #2: Early Retirement
2 out 5 COPD patients retire prematurely, causing an average of $316,000 lifetime income loss for the patient.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease - Impact #3: Death Rate on the Rise
Then overall death rate for COPD has increased by 67% since 1980.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease - Impact #4: Less Sleep and Work
Patients say the disease limits sleep by 50% and the ability to work by 51%.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease - Impact #5: More Females
Today, more women than men die from COPD each year.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease - Impact #6: Costly for USA
In 2010, the cost of COPD in the US was projected to be approximately $50 billion.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease - Impact #7: Less Active and Social
COPD patients say the disease limits normal physical exertion by 70% and normal social activities by 53%.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease - Impact #8: Global Problem
COPD is the 5th biggest killer worldwide, with an estimated 250 deaths every hour.