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Hypertension/COPD Overview


Hypertension is a disease that affects more than 76 million adults in the United States ≥ 20 years of age and approximately one billion individuals worldwide. According to a 2011 report from the American Heart Association (AHA) based on NHANES/NCHS data through 2008, one in three adults has high blood pressure, and 71% of these subjects were undergoing treatment for hypertension. The AHA further reports that only 47.8% of patients had their hypertension under control and 52.2% did not have it controlled.

When hypertension becomes severe and resistant to medication the patient is no longer able to maintain goal blood pressure, <140/90 mmHg. The prevalence of resistant hypertension is projected to increase due to the aging population, increasing trends in obesity, sleep apnea, and chronic kidney disease.


Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) refers to two lung diseases, chronic bronchitis and emphysema, that obstruct the airways making breathing difficult. COPD symptoms are seen most often in people over 40 who are smokers or former smokers. COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States behind heart attack, cancer and stroke. More than 14 million Americans have been diagnosed with COPD, and another 12 million likely have COPD but have not been diagnosed.

Smoking is the primary risk factor for COPD; approximately 80 to 90 percent of COPD-related deaths are caused by smoking. Other COPD causes include air pollution, second-hand smoke, childhood respiratory infections and heredity. Recently, the number of women dying from COPD complications has surpassed the number of men.

While COPD cannot be cured, it can be treated. Left untreated, airflow limitation is largely irreversible and usually progressive. With the help of doctors, symptoms can be improved and damage to the lungs can be slowed. The sooner COPD patients seek medical help, the better chance they have of managing the disease and living a fuller, longer life.