Lung Disease Now Surpasses Stroke as Third Leading Cause of Death
Monday, August 15, 2011
BROOKFIELD, Wis. - Deaths related to lung disease have now surpassed stroke as the third-leading cause of mortality in the U.S., according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Deaths from Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease (CLRD) and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), have continued to be on the increase.
Jamie Heberer, respiratory health coordinator for the American Lung Association in Wisconsin, is not surprised by the new ranking.
"We've known that it's been a problem, and especially when you're looking at other chronic diseases, things like stroke and cardiovascular disease, all of those death rates have been on the decline for a number of years, and COPD just continues to rise."
Heberer says COPD has a very significant impact on health care costs in Wisconsin.
"COPD accounted for about $131 million in direct medical expenses for hospitalization, and then an additional 13 million in direct medical expenses for emergency department visits."
Smoking continues to be the biggest factor in lung disease, along with air pollution and exposure to harsh chemical fumes.
Heberer says there is no cure for COPD, but help is available for patients and their families.
"There are pulmonary rehab programs that are offered in many hospitals and clinics across the state. The American Lung Association in Wisconsin also has support groups throughout the state that are listed on our website."
For more information about COPD programs and support groups, you can call the Lung Helpline at 1-800-LUNG-USA.
The ALA-WI website is at www.lungwi.org
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