Millions of Americans have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and suffer from daily bouts of coughing and breathlessness. COPD affects nearly 12 million Americans and has become one of the leading causes of disability and death in the United States.
Despite COPD affecting millions of people, not everyone is familiar with the disease. COPD is a progressive, irreversible lung disease that can cause chronic bronchitis and emphysema as well as have symptoms of having a horrible cold.
Medical specialists say it is very important for people to be aware of the signs and symptoms of COPD to receive a timely diagnosis and treatment. Symptoms of COPD include coughing and shortness of breath. However, many patients are diagnosed with asthma or chronic inflammatory lung disease instead due to the similar symptoms.
It is very important for individuals to receive proper diagnosis of COPD so they can start receiving proper treatment for the condition. Reports show that only half of individuals in the U.S. have been correctly diagnosed with the condition.
What causes COPD? Smoking is the most common risk factor for developing COPD, but there are also genetic and environmental factors that cause the condition. Individuals with COPD should know that it is a manageable condition and is treated with lifestyle changes, eating healthy and exercising. Many patients also receive pulmonary rehabilitation as well as take prescription medications.
Individuals with COPD may have a difficult time working and may be eligible for social security disability benefits for their chronic illness. SSDI benefits can help people with COPD pay for their medications and treatment, as well as other living expenses. Individuals thinking about applying for SSDI benefits may want to consult an attorney to understand the application process and to receive guidance on any issues that may arise.