Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 15:28 EDT

Nearly 250,000 Illinoisans With Diagnosed COPD Suffer Severe Shortness of Breath According to Newly Released Data

October 6, 2011

CHICAGO, Oct. 6, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Data released with the 2010 Illinois Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS) shows that more than 60% of the people living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) experience shortness of breath so severe that it affects their quality of life.

COPD is caused by airflow blockage and damaged lung tissue, and it includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. It is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. People living with COPD can maintain their quality of life through treatments such as medications, oxygen therapy and pulmonary rehabilitation.

Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago commissioned a series of five questions related to COPD to be included on the Illinois BRFSS. “We wanted a clearer understanding of how COPD impacts Illinoisans,” said Joel Africk, president and CEO. “With this information, we take clear action to educate health care providers, reach people at risk for COPD and serve people living with the disease.”

“These data tell us who has COPD, where they live, and what we need to do to improve their quality of life,” said Ravi Kalhan, M.D., MS, chair of the Illinois COPD Coalition. “The Illinois COPD Coalition strives to ensure that health care providers are following the standards of diagnosis and care, and that people living with COPD have access to the treatment, education and programs they need.”

The survey found that 398,919 people in Illinois (4.2%) have been diagnosed with COPD. Based on estimates that as many as half of the people living with COPD are undiagnosed, 800,000 Illinoisans are likely to have the disease. Of the people who said they had been diagnosed with COPD:

  • 64.6% experience shortness of breath that affects their quality of life
  • 49.9% have had a COPD-related doctor visit in the past 12 months
  • 77.2% have had a COPD breathing test
  • 60.8% take medication for COPD

“COPD is a serious issue facing our communities and affecting the daily lives of our loved ones,” said Eileen Lowery, RN, MSN, AE-C, manager of lung health initiatives at Respiratory Health Association. “It’s vital that we raise awareness about appropriate diagnosis and treatment regimens that can extend and improve people’s quality of life. Anyone experiencing shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing or chest tightness, should speak with a health care provider about COPD. “


SOURCE Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago

Source: PR Newswire