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National Jewish Offers Simple Test to Detect COPD


Officials at the National Institutes of Health estimate that as many as 12 million people in the United States have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) but don't know it. Today, the National Institutes of Health is launching a major COPD awareness program, intended to get more people diagnosed and properly treated.


Spirometry, a simple noninvasive test that measures how much and how fast air can be forced out of the lungs, can help detect COPD and other lung diseases.

National Jewish Medical and Research Center offers free spirometry tests throughout the year at various locations in Colorado. Times and locations of the free spirometry testing can be found in the "Classes and Events" listings on the National Jewish website.

The next spirometry testing will be Friday, January 19, 2007, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the main National Jewish campus, 1400 Jackson St. To make an appointment call 303-398-1911.

"Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a treatable and preventable disease," said Barry Make, MD, pulmonologist at National Jewish. "Because people often do not recognize symptoms of COPD until their lungs are functioning about half as well as normal, spirometry is crucial to detecting the disease before extensive lung damage has occurred."

COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S., and on the rise. COPD leads to a progressive loss of airflow into and out of the lungs caused primarily by chronic inflammation in the airways and lung tissue. Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are two common forms of COPD. Symptoms of COPD include shortness of breath, coughing (sometimes called "smoker's cough"), sputum production, and wheezing.

About 85% of COPD cases in the United States are cause by tobacco smoke. A genetic deficiency, called alpha-1 antitrypsin, and exposure to environmental pollutants can also cause COPD.

Treatment for COPD can control symptoms, improve exercise capacity and prolong life.


National Jewish Health is the leading respiratory hospital in the nation. Founded 125 years ago as a nonprofit hospital, National Jewish Health today is the only facility in the world dedicated exclusively to groundbreaking medical research and treatment of children and adults with respiratory, cardiac, immune and related disorders. Patients and families come to National Jewish Health from around the world to receive cutting-edge, comprehensive, coordinated care. To learn more, visit the media resources page.

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