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Lung disease on the rise, likely to worsen

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Lung disease in on the rise among adults around the world and doctors say it's only likely to get worse in the future. The lung disease known as chronic pulmonary obstructive disorder -- or COPD -- is the fifth leading cause of death worldwide. COPD, which includes breathing disorders such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema, most often results from smoking. Previous estimates suggested around 4 percent of adults over age 40 suffer from COPD, but a new global study puts the number much higher, at 10 percent. Researchers studied more than 9,400 people in 12 different countries, including the United States and Canada. They found that one in 10 people had decreased lung function, persistent cough, or breathing problems that signal COPD. For people who had smoked for twenty years or more, the odds were much greater -- roughly one in five had COPD. The percentages also increased as people got older, even among non-smokers, so doctors say the problem is likely to get worse as the population ages. Experts are calling for more efforts aimed at reducing smoking and improving treatments for COPD as the number of patients continues to climb.

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