New NIH data show gains in COPD awareness
Awareness of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) continues to grow steadily in the United States, according to survey results released today by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health. According to the survey, 69 percent of adults say they are aware of COPD, up five points from 64 percent in 2008. However, up to 30 percent of Americans still report being unaware of the condition - even those most at risk – current and former smokers.
Akinso: The number of Americans who report being aware of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD has increased but many still unaware.
Kiley: It's a serious lung disease that overtime makes it increasingly harder to breathe.
Akinso: Dr. James Kiley is the Director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood’s Division of Lung Diseases.
Kiley: And you may have heard of this disease in the past as either emphysema or chronic bronchitis. COPD combine these diseases under one heading. People that have COPD, the airways or the tubes that carry air in and out of the lung get partially blocked so that makes it increasingly harder to get air in and out.
Akinso: Recently the NHLBI conducted a survey and found that 69 percent of adults claim that they are aware of COPD. However, up to 30 percent of Americans reported that they were unaware of the condition. Awareness increased steadily among current and former smokers as well as nonsmokers according to Dr. Kiley.
Kiley: So that's some good news; in fact that's up from a little bit from 2008 about 5 points from where we were about two years ago. So that's encouraging that's great because there’s over 12 million people in the U.S. that have COPD and there’s an estimated 12 million more that are undiagnosed may have it they don't even know they have it. What’s not so good about the survey results is that about 30 percent of Americans have reportedly never even heard of the condition or those at most risk and those are the current and former smokers. So we still have a long way to go, in fact raise awareness of this disease but there's good news that requires us to do some more work as a result of this recent survey.
Akinso: To improve awareness of COPD symptoms, the NHLBI is launching a new public service announcement campaign. Dr. Kiley talks about the campaign and its highlights.
Kiley: For about the past 3 or 4 years the NHLBI launched a campaign called the "Learn More Breathe Better." That's a campaign to increase awareness of COPD as a serious lung disease. And it's to increase understanding of COPD and the fact that it's a treatable disease. It encourages people at risk to get a simple breathing test to talk to their doctors about treatment options.
Akinso: The NHLBI analyzed the results of the annual Health Styles surveys of the public health attitudes, knowledge, practices, and lifestyle habits of consumers. For more information on the survey, visit www.nhlbi.nih.gov. This is Wally Akinso at the National Institutes Health.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Wally Akinso
Sound Bite: Dr. James Kiley
Topic: COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease