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Thursday, September 15, 2011

COPD rates remain steady; job security for many RRTs

There's been a lot of concern among RRTs that once people quit smoking many of us may be out of a job.  That may be true some time in the distant future, yet for the time being it appears the COPD rate remains steady.

Surely we're all aware that smoking contributes to 90 percent of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease cases, and many of these patients are later admitted to hospitals with exacerbations, heart failure, strokes, and other complications of the disease and smoking.

A study performed by the Center for Disease Control and reported to us over at WebMD  tracked COPD patients from 1998 to 2009 and concluded the COPD prevalence rate remained unchanged.  What did change was the death rate, yet only for men. 

WebMD notes the report concluded that:
"Older adults are the most likely to have the disease, and most people are generally diagnosed with it later in life. The disease was most common among women aged 65 to 74, and most common among men between ages 75 and 84. In nearly every age group, women with the disease were in the majority, according the CDC report."
So our job security seems safe for the time being.  I imagine unless some other disease pops onto the scene requireing our services that RT jobs might start to decline as smoking rates decline. 

Yet I imagine it'll be at least 50-100 years before this effects our profession even if all the current smokers quit today.  I say this because we'll continue to need to treat those who currently have the disease, or those current and former smokers who will be diagnosed in the future.


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