Educating about a disease affecting 24 million Americans

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung disease that causes difficulty breathing and shortness of breath due to airflow blockage. Because airways in the lungs are blocked, normal breathing may take extra effort. Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are two lung conditions commonly associated with COPD; people with COPD may have emphysema, chronic bronchitis or both.

In a report released in December 2010, COPD was announced the third leading cause of death in the United States. The disease is estimated to affect 24 million people, including 800,000 people in Illinois.

Respiratory Health Association's COPD Initiative works at the local, state and national levels to raise COPD awareness, improve care for COPD patients, and prevent and reduce the prevalence of the disease.

The goals of the COPD Initiative are:
  • Increase COPD awareness among people with COPD, their families, and the community.
  • Educate the public about COPD and the benefits of early detection.
  • Inform the healthcare community about GOLD, a global initiative dedicated to increasing COPD awareness and decreasing morbidity and mortality from COPD. 
  • Advance COPD policies at the local, state and national levels.
  • Advocate for increased funding for COPD research.
  • Communicate new research results and other topics to improve quality of life for people with COPD through our Inspiration newsletter and Living Better Together educational conference.
  • Organize educational and social events for people living with COPD, such as the Living Better Together COPD Conference.

In 2007, Respiratory Health Association convened a 100-member Illinois COPD Coalition that developed the State Plan for Addressing COPD in Illinois. Illinois was just the second state to convene a coalition and implement such a comprehensive plan. In 2010, the coalition secured the inclusion of five COPD-related questions on the Illinois Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey

In 2011, Respiratory Health Association was awarded nearly $90,000 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health, to form the Midwest COPD Network, a collaboration of stakeholders across Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. 

To receive information about COPD in the mail, sign up for our free Inspiration newsletter. To learn more about COPD, visit our Understanding COPD page or contact Amy O'Rourke: 
Email Amy
(312) 628-0217