Man lung exam

Knoxville Hospital & Clinics (KHC) joins the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s (NHLBI’s) COPD Learn More Breathe Better® program in increasing awareness of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) as part of National COPD Awareness Month this November. During the month, KHC is encouraging more dialogue around COPD to help address the burden of COPD, which is the third leading cause of death in the United States.

We all have a role to play in talking about COPD. Whether you are a caregiver, patient, provider, or just know someone with the disease or symptoms, speaking to each other about it is a key first step. At KHC, we are committed to raising our voice for the millions with COPD who can’t. We hope to use COPD Awareness Month to increase discussions around this deadly disease, leading to earlier diagnosis and treatment.

COPD Among Adults in Iowa

COPD affects 5.1% of Iowa residents, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nationwide, the disease impacts more than 24 million people and it is estimated that half of these cases go undiagnosed. While there currently is no cure for COPD, early intervention and treatment may help manage the disease and improve quality of life.

COPD lungsSymptoms

Symptoms of COPD include shortness of breath, chronic coughing or wheezing, producing excess sputum, or feeling unable to take a deep breath. COPD most often occurs in people age 40 and over with a history of smoking (either current or former smokers). However, as many as one in six people with COPD have never smoked. Long-term environmental exposure to things that can irritate your lungs as well as certain genetic conditions can also play a role.


Tobacco use is the primary cause of COPD in the United States, but air pollutants at home (such as secondhand smoke and some heating fuels) and at work (such as dusts, gases, and fumes), and genetic predisposition also can
cause COPD.

COPD Risk Factors

You may be at an increased risk if you are older than 40 years and

  • Have symptoms of COPD.
  • Have a history of smoking.
  • Have been exposed to environmental or occupational pollutants

Please talk to your health care provider about being tested for COPD using spirometry (a breathing test).


COPD can be debilitating, frustrating, and devastating. One of the programs helping persons live better with COPD is KHC’s Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program. Learn More.  


Article Reference: National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

The information on this blog is provided for general information purposes and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, care, treatment or evaluation; nor should it be used in diagnosing a health condition. You are encouraged to consult your health care provider if you or a family member has or suspect you have a medical problem.