12 million Americans suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD.
The illness is characterized by breathlessness, coughing and excessive mucus production and can leave a patient weak, especially as the disease progresses. It is thought to be the third leading cause of death in the United States, killing 120,000 people every year.
Despite these startling figures, many Americans are unaware of the condition. As a result, many may not seek treatment in a timely way. Early treatment can minimize lung damage and improve the quality of life enjoyed by patients.
Facts about COPD include:
- More women than men die from COPD each year
- Only half of people in the U.S. with the disease have been properly diagnosed. Many are diagnosed incorrectly with asthma
- Smoking is the most common risk factor for COPD. However, between 10 and 20 percent of patients with COPD have never smoked
- There is no cure for the illness. However, it can be managed by stopping smoking, eating correctly and exercising. Many patients feel that their lung capacity does not allow for exercise, but there are documented benefits to exercise
- When diagnosed, patients should receive a determination of how much air is getting into the lungs. This allows for more precise treatment and management
Individuals unable to work because of the severity of their COPD may be eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. Because the illness is often misdiagnosed, it is important to consult a knowledgeable SSD advocate about properly documenting the claim. If you are seeking SSD benefits for COPD and are encountering problems, do what hundreds of thousands of others have done: Contact Binder & Binder®, America’s most successful Social Security Disability advocates. Tell them your story and learn how they can help.
Source: Sampan, “Did you know? Five facts about smoking and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,” Sep., 2013.