COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) is a serious lung disease that, over time, makes it hard to breathe. It is the 4th leading cause of death in the United States and causes serious, long-term disability. The number of people with COPD is increasing. More than 12 million people are currently diagnosed with COPD and an additional 12 million likely have the disease and don't even know it.
You may have heard COPD called other names, like emphysema or chronic bronchitis. In people who have COPD, the airways—tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs—are partly blocked, which makes it hard to get air in and out.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) has developed a national campaign—Learn More Breathe Better —to increase awareness and understanding of COPD and its risk factors and to underscore the benefits of early detection and treatment in slowing the disease and improving the quality of life.
If you have COPD or think you may be at risk, you can take steps to make breathing easier and live a longer and more active life. Get a simple breathing test and talk with your doctor about treatment options that are right for you.