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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Kentucky: It’s Time to Review and Renew the Search for Therapies to Manage Common COPD Symptoms

A new study from the University of Kentucky College of Public Health examines the impact of common symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) on the lives of individuals living with this common disease. Findings are detailed in a new publication by Dr. Radmila Choate, assistant professor of epidemiology.

COPD affects between 15 and 25 million adults in the United States, and is the fourth leading cause of death and the second leading cause of disability. The condition is estimated to be responsible for more than 10 million office visits, 1.5 million emergency department (ED) visits, and 700,000 hospitalizations annually. In the U.S., the estimated direct and indirect costs of COPD top $50 billion – likely higher when considering multiple comorbiditites. COPD patients experience high rates of morbidity and disability based on multiple symptoms, exacerbations, and severity of airflow obstruction, and symptom experience is closely related to health outcomes.

Cough and mucus production (phlegm) are common reasons for people with COPD to seek medical care, yet COPD-associated cough and phlegm have few effective therapies compared to other common symptoms. With high burdens of COPD symptoms negatively impacting quality of life for patients – including physical function as well as ability to work and socialize – it’s important to understand this common symptom. Using data from the COPD Foundation’s Patient-Powered Research Network, the present study highlights the need to review and renew the search for therapies designed to reduce cough and phlegm in pursuit of symptom relief – previously identified as one of the chief goals of COPD management.

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