COPD now No. 3 leading cause of death among Americans

WASHINGTON — Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is the third-leading cause of death in the United States, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics released the report Friday, which showed that COPD became the third-leading cause of death in 2008, but it was expected to reach that rank in 2020. COPD is a collective term for such respiratory diseases as emphysema, chronic bronchitis and bronchiectasis, and affects around 24 million Americans.

“It’s unacceptable that COPD has gone from [the] fourth- to the third-leading cause 12 years sooner than originally projected,” COPD Foundation co-founder and president John Walsh said. “This wake-up call intensifies our declaration of war on COPD and points to the importance of increasing awareness, prevention, detection and treatment to reduce the burden of COPD.”