COPD: Reduce Your Risk

Could you be at risk for COPD? Learn how to avoid this serious lung disease.

By Louis Neipris, MD, Contributing Writer

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a serious lung disease that makes it hard to breathe. COPD includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. It is the third-leading cause of death in the United States and it currently affects about 12 million Americans. Another 12 million may have COPD, but are undiagnosed.

Are you at risk for COPD?
A variety of factors may increase your chance of getting COPD. You may be able to avoid some of them, but others are out of your control. The risk factors for COPD include:

What can you do to reduce your risk for COPD?
Whether or not you have COPD risk factors, you can take steps to help prevent it. Follow these tips and any others your doctor recommends:

Important reminders for those with COPD

COPD takes a long time to develop. Symptoms may not show up until you're between the ages of 50 and 70. Taking action now may help you avoid it in the future.