In Kentucky, 9.3% of adults have the respiratory disease, which includes conditions such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis, compared with 6.3% of Americans nationwide.
Smoking is the leading cause of COPD, and people exposed to secondhand smoke are also at risk. The bad news: COPD is incurable. The good news: it’s treatable and preventable. “You can still prolong your life by quitting smoking,” said Scott Kellie, MD, a pulmonologist on the medical staff at Baptist Health Louisville and Baptist Health La Grange. “Smoking cessation will also improve your quality of life.”
Maintaining general health and being vaccinated for influenza and pneumonia also help reduce the severity of the disease. See a doctor if you have signs of COPD, such as frequent bronchitis, increasing shortness of breath, chronic cough with productive mucus and chest tightness.