Nearly 9 percent of West Virginia adults have been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
John Walsh of the COPD Foundation says that’s the fourth-highest rate in the U.S., and it translates to more than 130,000 people.
Walsh said health disparities in the state contribute to the numbers, including high percentages of adult and teenage smokers.
But he says COPD is also caused by inhalation of secondhand smoke, occupational dust and chemicals, and air pollution.
COPD is the second most common disability nationwide, and Walsh says some people don’t know they should get tested.
He says shortness of breath and coughing are not normal parts of aging. He suggests people take an online survey to determine if they’re at risk.