Overview of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) refers to a variety of chronic lung diseases, such as emphysema and
chronic bronchitis, which cause blockage of airway passages and breathing-related problems. COPD is a major
cause of disability, and was the fourth
leading cause of mortality in the United States in 2016. Approximately 16 million people in the U.S.
have been diagnosed with COPD and millions more suffer from
the disease but have not been diagnosed. Costs associated with COPD in the U.S. were $32 billion in 2010, a
figure that is expected to rise to $49
billion by 2020.
In most cases, COPD is preventable. Approximately 80%
of COPD cases are caused by smoking. While smoking is the leading cause of COPD deaths, it is not the
only risk factor for COPD. Risk factors may include:
- Exposure to lung irritants, including secondhand smoke
- History of asthma
- Advanced age
- Abnormal development of lungs during childhood
- History of severe childhood respiratory infection
- Chronic bronchitis
Resources to Learn More
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD)
Provides information about COPD including data and statistics, publications of research, state
specific fact sheets, and guidelines and reports for clinicians.
Organization(s): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
America: How Does Your State Compare?
An interactive U.S. map providing fact sheets with data and statistics demonstrating the burden of
COPD in each state.
Organization(s): COPD Foundation