A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that while three of the leading causes of death were on the decline, only chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, increased. These new findings mean that COPD moved into the No. 3 spot for leading causes of death, behind only cancer and heart disease. Approximately 24 million Americans have COPD, but only half of those people have been diagnosed. COPD, more commonly known as emphysema or chronic bronchitis, kills more than 120,000 Americans each year. This equates to one death every four minutes. Respiratory therapists are working hard to reverse this trend. The first step in this effort is increased awareness and detection of COPD, beginning with recognition of COPD symptoms. Extreme and continuous shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing are the most common symptoms. If you are an ex-smoker then ask your Doctor for a Spirometry Test. Early diagnosis makes all the difference in the Quality of a person with COPD! Unfortunately, surveys show that Doctors lack awareness as well as the public! They tend to only offer the test to men over 60! By then who knows how bad you could have the illness! The sooner you find out the better and if you don't have it - wouldn't that be GREAT to know? If you have been diagnosed with Emphysema or COPD you should know that you are not alone and there is plenty you can do for yourself, first and foremost of course, is quit smoking once and for all! Please contact me by clicking on my name above and writing a message on the message board and I'll give you information about a Great Support Group we have going for Emphysema! We keep a positive attitude and share advice, support, understanding and friendship! We'd love to have you join us!