RIDGEFIELD, Conn., Feb. 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- DRIVE4COPD today announced that it achieved its goal of screening 1 million Americans to determine their risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in its first year. The health awareness campaign aims to make a fundamental change in how COPD is addressed in this country and an important part of this effort is to find the millions who may be at risk for COPD and do not know it.

COPD, a progressive disease that includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema or both, is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. Over time, it damages the lungs and makes it harder to breathe. This damage is permanent, but if identified, COPD can be managed. Of the estimated 24 million Americans who may have COPD, half don't know it. The validated COPD Population Screener™ offered by DRIVE4COPD is an important first step for those who might be at risk.

"For many, taking the brief, five-question screener may be the first indication that they are at risk for COPD," said Brian Carlin, MD, FCCP, Chair, COPD Alliance. "The results of the screener can prompt those at risk to have a conversation with a healthcare professional and if needed, take steps to prevent irreversible lung damage."

Nearly 20 percent of the people who have taken the screener scored high enough to indicate they may be at risk for COPD. The campaign asks those who identify as at-risk to share the results of the screener with their healthcare professional. All Americans age 35 or older who have smoked 100 cigarettes in their lifetime are encouraged to log onto DRIVE4COPD.COM and be screened.

The true reach of the campaign extends even beyond the 1 million who have taken the screener. In the past year, DRIVE4COPD has touched hundreds of millions more lives by sharing vital information on COPD symptoms and the need to take action. Partnering organizations, committed Celebrity Ambassador