Impact of COPD on Quality of Life: By the Numbers

As with many chronic conditions, the full impact an individual’s life can be difficult to assess. Most healthcare professionals focus on managing symptoms and treatment, while the substantial impact on overall quality of life often goes unnoticed. We found this to be especially true with the over 1,200 respondents we surveyed during our COPD In America 2016 study.

Only 2%
Of individuals surveyed indicated that their overall quality of life was not at all affected by COPD.

94%* find they are unable to do as much as they used to and 88%* indicated that COPD negatively impacts their ability to fulfill family or household duties. 75% wished at the time of their diagnosis that they had known more about how COPD would affect their lifestyle.

4 out 5*
Indicated they don’t enjoy life as much as they used to. 85%* have had to cut back on hobbies and activities they enjoy, and 81%* cited its negative impact on their social relationships.

With this, its not surprising that 62%* feel isolated or alone due to their COPD.

Less than 1 in 10
Never have their sleep impacted by their COPD, with 91% being affected in some capacity. 89%* of all surveyed indicated that they easily fatigue or feel tired more often.

9 out of 10
Of those surveyed had children. 63%* cited that COPD has had a negative impact on the relationship with their children.

About 1/2
Of individuals were married or in a long-term relationship at the time of the survey, and 45% were single/not in a relationship. COPD was felt to have negatively impacted individuals’ relationships with their significant others for 70%*.

Are afraid of the long term complications of COPD. Along with this fear came blame and regret-- 83%* blamed themselves for having COPD and 90%* wished they had done things differently in the past.

With self-blame came a feeling of blame from others, with 54* feeling that others blame them for having COPD.

4 in 10
Have a caregiver who is involved in the management of their COPD; this individual is typically their spouse/significant other (58%) or their child (34%). Caregivers were relied on most for emotional support (73%) and to help with day-to-day tasks and activities (67%).

But 1/2* of those surveyed wished they had more help from family and friends.

Over 3/4*
Of those surveyed reported that COPD has had a financial impact on their life. 15% of individuals were employed in some capacity at the time of the survey, but only 9% were employed full-time. 86%* reported that COPD has had a negative impact on their ability to work.

Given the impact of COPD, it’s not surprising that 27% of individuals surveyed were on disability and 51% were fully retired.

Only 3%
Of those surveyed were involved in COPD advocacy efforts - their main reasons for participating was to find new and better treatments, as well as educating other COPD patients and raising awareness of the condition.

However 81%* wished there were more available resources and services for those with COPD in their community.

1,260 community members
Completed the annual COPD In America survey, which gathered insights about what life with COPD is really like – ranging from diagnosis, to symptoms, treatments, and quality of life. Thank you to all of the participants who shared their personal experiences with us. Your feedback helps us paint an accurate picture of life with COPD.


*Indicates that on a 5-point scale, survey respondents rated at least somewhat for the statement (mid-point)

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