Your Health

November is National COPD Awareness Month

November 17, 2023 — Jill Lanagan

COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is an umbrella term which include emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Some 16 million adults in the U.S. have COPD and millions
more are undiagnosed and even unaware they have the disease. Each November the COPD Foundation plan a month of activities to increase awareness of this disease.
Emphysema, in which the walls between the air sacs have less elasticity to help move air, and Chronic bronchitis, caused by the repeated or constant irritation and inflammation
to the lining of the airways which lead to forming of mucus that makes breathing difficult.
Early diagnosis and treatment can help people with COPD improve their quality of life and health. It is important to generate awareness and educate our
communities about this chronic lung disease. As always in our blogs, we strive to give you basic information to help raise awareness and encourage you
to access pod casts, other blogs, internet articles and of course conversations with your physician.

We will start with some signs and symptoms of COPD, as listed below. Early Warning Signs may include:

  • Shortness of breath, especially during physical activities.
  • Wheezing and/or chest tightness
  • A chronic cough that may produce mucus, clear, white, yellow or greenish
  • Frequent respiratory infections
  • Being unable to take a deep breath or feel like you cannot breath
  • Fatigue or tiredness

While everyone does not experience the same COPD symptoms these are the most common . A lot of people go undiagnosed because they put these symptoms down
to ageing or being out of shape. Although the most common cause of COPD is smoking there are also other contributing factors. Exposure to second hand smoke ,smoke from
coal or wood burning stoves ,or a history of asthma. Other risk factors include childhood respiratory infections and people that have under developed lungs. It is important to educate ourselves so if you or a
family member have any breathing issues you seek out your physician for diagnosis as soon as possible. Too often people with COPD are diagnosed too late so that lack of support and treatments aren’t given which would allow them to live their best quality of life.

The best way to prevent COPD is to never start smoking, and if you smoke, quit. Talk with your doctor about programs and products that can help you quit. Also, stay away from secondhand smoke, which is smoke from burning tobacco products, such as cigarettes, cigars, or pipes.

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived; that is to have succeeded. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Topics: Your Health

Written by

Jill Lanagan

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