COPD is the 4th leading cause of death among Canadians. While most Canadians know about breast cancer, HIV, heart disease and stroke less than 50% of us have heard about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and only 13% of us have heard of COPD. This is quite scary since the number of female deaths from COPD has increased at twice –double – the rate of death from breast cancer since the year 2000. In 2003 alone, 4,383 women died from COPD in Canada and 5,060 women died of breast cancer.
COPD affects more women than men and by 2010 will likely kill more women than men and yet less than 50% don’t even know about this disease. While screening tests such as mammography, pap tests or bone densitometry have become routine to diagnose other diseases, screening and diagnosis for COPD is very low. It is also believed that 75% of those affected remain untreated. Our lack of awareness, lack of diagnosis and lack of treatment all combine to the increased death rate from this disease.
If you are over 40 and smoke or are a former smoker ask your doctor for a breathing test (spirometry) to see if you have COPD. Most of all, learn more about COPD and how we save ourselves.