Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is the No. 3 leading cause of death in the U.S.
Now, it may be possible to predict an individual's risk for developing COPD, beyond just accounting for smoking habits. Investigators at Brigham and Women's Hospital have discovered 13 new genetic regions that are linked to the deadly lung disease.
The findings, published in the journal Nature Genetics, revealed that genetic risk factors for COPD can in fact increase a person's chance of developing the condition.
The researchers noted that these findings were just the beginning and that continued research will help to better understand and treat COPD.