The official blog of the Lung Institute.

How Does Race Affect COPD?

8 Oct 2015
| Under COPD, Lung Disease | Posted by | 4 Comments
How does race affect COPD?

Race and COPD—Do They Relate?

We often go through our lives failing to consider individuals of other races, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds. Or rather, it is not that we don’t consider them, but we either live in the silo of individuals who believe everybody is the same—a group of people based in equality, but blinded to reality, or we belong to the silo of individuals that still prospers in thoughts of prejudice and discrimination. Either way, the differences of people from various races are not being considered in order to benefit all parties, and for the most part, they actually result in an anti-symbiotic relationship. Moving into a revolutionary new era of acknowledging differences and learning how to mutually benefit from them has led to the introduction of many races into the medical field. Regardless of background, many of us share common ground in that we want to be happy, healthy and have access to healthcare. To promote general well-being, we now take the time to look at health issue from the perspective of a different racial, thus biological and genetic, background.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) is one of the many chronic lung diseases that can leave sufferers struggling to breathe. It is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, and while it is estimated that 12.7 million people have COPD, it is also assumed that there is a vast number of individuals with COPD who are not diagnosed. Many of the individuals who are undiagnosed may not fit into the majority racial profile. Currently, there are more Caucasian individuals diagnosed with COPD than those of African decent—despite newer research showing that the gap may not actually be significant. By having a larger volume of white individuals diagnosed with COPD, scientists previously accepted the notion that white individuals are more susceptible to COPD than black individuals. Surprisingly, new research refutes this finding as African American individuals are more likely to receive a COPD diagnosis at a younger age and with less of a cumulative-smoking background, or less years with first-hand smoke.  Theoretically, this supports the idea that African Americans are more susceptible to COPD. With findings pointing in different directions, scientists are baffled by the potential connection between COPD and race.

Social scientists conclude that the discrepancies result from the individuals’ socioeconomic background and the environmental factors resulting, rather than just race. In today’s society, there is an increased number of African American individuals of lower socioeconomic backgrounds than white individuals. When an individual is of a lower socioeconomic level, they may be exposed to a greater amount of second-hand smoke, lower quality food, decreased access to healthcare and a higher probability of currently smoking. As a result, individuals of a lower socioeconomic status may be more likely to develop COPD. Unfortunately, as mentioned, being part of a lower socioeconomic level may limit an individual’s access to healthcare meaning they may not have the ability to actually be diagnosed with COPD. This could contribute to the large population of undiagnosed COPD sufferers.

In summation, perhaps we are looking at the connection between COPD and race all the wrong ways. It may not be as black and white as we have always believed it to be; the verdict is still out. Maybe the connection is based on socioeconomic status. Maybe it’s not. What we do know is that more research related to COPD, preventative solutions and minority individuals is needed before we will ever understand how it all connects to each other.

If you or a loved one—of any race, ethnicity or socioeconomic background—is dealing with chronic lung disease, such as COPD, emphysema or chronic bronchitis, know that you are not alone. This month is COPD Awareness Month, so there is no better time for you to reach out and seek help; now you can bring your life within reach. The Lung Institute has alternative treatment options that can offer an improved quality of life. For more information, contact us or call us at (800) 729-3065.


  1. Cameron Kennerly

    12 months ago

    Hello Nawaf,

    We checked within our internal systems and we have no record of you on our subscriber list. However if you’ve been receiving unwanted emails check on the bottom of the email and you should see an unsubscribe button. Click it and follow the steps and you should be removed. As for your question regarding air and oxygen, by opening up a window, you allow fresh air from outside (rather than re-circulated A/C) to enter your household clearing out impurities such as smoke or steam.

    Hope this helps,
    The Lung Institute

  2. Nawaf

    12 months ago

    Please take my e-mail out

  3. sh

    1 year ago

    Hello, Margaret.

    We have treated many patients that suffer from interstitial lung disease. We operate a clinic near you in Scottsdale, Arizona. If you’re interested in finding out more about our treatments, we would be happy to have a Patient Coordinator give you a call to discuss treatment options.

    Please visit our testimonials page, and watch the Audrey S. patient testimonial. Here is the link: https://lunginstitute.com/testimonials/audrey-s-fairbanks-ak/

    If you’d like to speak with someone today to learn more about stem cell therapy, please call (855) 313-1149.

    Thank you for contacting us.

    Best Regards,

  4. Margaret Vaughn

    1 year ago

    have interstitial lung disease due to valley fever. American Indian. Reside in northwestern Arizona. Obtain medical services from Phoenix Indian medical center. Four hours from my home. Contract health care is limited just as the VA.

Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

* All treatments performed at Lung Institute utilize autologous stem cells, meaning those derived from a patient's own body. No fetal or embryonic stem cells are utilized in Lung Institute's procedures. Lung Institute aims to improve patients' quality of life and help them breathe easier through the use of autologous stem cell therapy. To learn more about how stem cells work for lung disease, click here.

All claims made regarding the efficacy of Lung Institute's treatments as they pertain to pulmonary conditions are based solely on anecdotal support collected by Lung Institute. Individual conditions, treatment and outcomes may vary and are not necessarily indicative of future results. Testimonial participation is voluntary. Lung Institute does not pay for or script patient testimonials.

Under current FDA guidelines and regulations 1271.10 and 1271.15, the Lung Institute complies with all necessary requirements for operation. Any individual who accesses Lung Institute's website for information is encouraged to speak with his or her primary physician for treatment suggestions and conclusive evidence. All information on this site should be used for educational and informational use only.