NIH survey: COPD rises, awareness falls
WASHINGTON – Although the number of cases of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is on the rise, awareness has returned to 2008 levels, according to a survey conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Sixty-five percent of adults reported they had heard of COPD in 2012, compared to 71% in 2011. Among current and former smokers, the two groups most at risk for developing COPD, 2012 awareness levels stood at 74% and 73%, respectively, while 2011 awareness levels were at 78% and 76%, respectively. “Although these current numbers do not indicate a trend, we are concerned that the awareness level has not continued to increase,” stated James Kiley, Ph.D., director of the NHLBI Division of Lung Diseases, in a press release. “We plan to use this as an opportunity to mobilize and re-energize our efforts.” COPD, which includes symptoms such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis, surpassed stroke in 2010 to become the third leading cause of death in the United States.