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4 Biggest Myths About Your COPD — and How to Cope

Lung DiseaseIt’s a sad fact that people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, better known as COPD, have trouble doing what connects us to life – they can’t easily breathe.

The disease can affect their airways, air sacs or both. Remarkably, it’s the third leading cause of death in the United States, according to the American Lung Association – affecting more than 11 million Americans we know about, and another estimated 24 million who go undiagnosed.

Pulmonologist Kathrin Nicolacakis, MD, says that COPD is often misunderstood. She sheds light on four common myths about COPD:

Myth 1: Only smokers get COPD
Fact: While COPD is often associated with smoking, and rightly so, there are a substantial number of people with this condition who never smoked.

According to the National Institutes of Health, 42 percent of COPD sufferers are former smokers, 34 percent are current smokers and the rest – which make up 24 percent — never lit a cigarette.

Continue on Health Essentials.