Skip Navigation

HHS HealthBeat (December 13, 2011)

Fighting for air

A man out of breath struggling to get upstairs
Listen to TipAudio

Take the Next Step

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

About 24 million Americans have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, which can make it hard to breathe.  Even grocery shopping can leave them struggling for air.

People who don’t realize they have COPD might think they’re just growing old, or they’re out of shape. But COPD’s causes are, notably, smoking – and other things that irritate the lungs, such as living or working around dust or chemicals.

At the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Letitia Presley-Cantrell:

“If you are at risk for COPD, and have a constant cough, excess mucus production, shortness of breath, or wheezing, you should be tested for the disease.” (9 seconds)

A simple test measures how much air you can blow out, and how fast.

Learn more at

HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: December 13, 2011