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Plan to Fight Major Cause of Death in California

  • Published: 2010-11-18 : American Lung Association of California.
  • Synopsis: The California COPD Coalition led by the American Lung Association in California released Strategic Plan to Address COPD in California

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First-Ever Plan to Fight Major Cause of Death in California Released - Strategic Plan to Address Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) outlines key actions needed to address COPD, the nation's fourth leading killer.

The California COPD Coalition, led by the American Lung Association in California, today released its Strategic Plan to Address COPD in California, a comprehensive blueprint for preventing further cases of COPD, improving the quality of life for those with COPD, and enhancing the diagnosis and treatment of COPD.

"The American Lung Association is proud to have led this coalition to deliver this landmark report during COPD Awareness month, 2010," said Jane Warner, President & CEO of the American Lung Association in California. "COPD is a major killer, claiming more than 120,000 lives each year. This plan directly addresses how everyone from insurers to employers to patients can work together to better address these diseases."

COPD refers to two lung diseases, chronic bronchitis and emphysema that are characterized by obstruction to airflow that interferes with normal breathing. Both of these conditions frequently co-exist, hence physicians prefer the term COPD. It does not include other obstructive diseases such as asthma. Smoking is the primary risk factor for COPD. Approximately 85 to 90 percent of COPD deaths are caused by smoking. Other risk factors of COPD include exposure to air pollution, second-hand smoke and occupational dusts and chemicals, heredity, a history of childhood respiratory infections and socioeconomic status.(2)

"More needs to be done to help people with COPD live healthier lives and to prevent new cases of this serious lung disease," said Richard Casaburi, Ph.D., M.D., Professor of Medicine at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute. "The Strategic Plan provides important steps for physicians, health care providers and policy makers to take in the fight against COPD."

The California COPD Coalition is a group of stakeholders that formed beginning with a Summit on COPD and through the process of creating the COPD Strategic Plan. This document marks the beginning of focused and strategic work to decrease the impact of COPD on Californians. Membership in the California COPD Coalition is open to all interested organizations and individuals. Those interested in joining should call their local American Lung Association office at 800-LUNG USA.

To see the full report, visit For more information on COPD, please review the Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema Morbidity and Mortality Trend Report in the Data and Statistics section of or call the American Lung Association at 1-800-LUNG-USA (586-4872).

(1) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Health Statistics. Final Vital Statistics Report. Deaths: Final Data for 2006. Vol. 57, No. 14, April 17, 2009.

(2) Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Executive Summary: Global Strategy for the Diagnosis, Management, and Prevention of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Updated 2007. Accessed on June 10, 2009

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