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Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Fighting Against Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

By Caitlin Rossiter Vol . 20, No. 05 / February 2012

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COPD is the third leading cause of death in America.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive lower respiratory disease that affects the lungs by limiting airflow and creating breathing problems. COPD includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute estimate 12 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with COPD.

Cigarette smoking causes nearly 75 percent of diagnosed COPD cases, according to the CDC.  Occupational exposure causes 15 percent, while pollutants and mold cause 10 percent. The CDC estimates 20 million workers in the United States have been exposed to gases, vapors, fumes and dusts that can cause COPD. Genetics are also a factor, as lacking a specific protein to protect lungs from damage increases the risk of developing COPD.

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