Fewer hospitalizations for C.O.P.D. patients

Posted: 7/1/2013

From The New York Times:

You don't see supermarket products emblazoned with ribbons to help support research on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Major corporations don't sponsor walkathons for thousands of cheering supporters.

This group of respiratory disorders, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis, is the third leading cause of death in the United States and accounts for a fifth of all hospitalizations among people over age 75 - yet we hear surprisingly little about it. Why is that?

"C.O.P.D. has a stigma," said Dr. Gulshan Sharma, director of pulmonary and critical care medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Because smoking accounts for most C.O.P.D. in this country, the prevailing public attitude is, "You did it to yourself," he said. So the disease, which strikes older people more frequently, remains both underdiagnosed and undertreated. Read more.