November is COPD Awareness Month – Know Your COPD Facts

November is National COPD Awareness Month. This observance is an opportunity for everyone across the country to increase their overall awareness of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

ThinkstockPhotos-522695539COPD is a form of lung disease that makes breathing difficult. It is caused by damage to the lungs over a prolonged period of time and is usually attributed to smoking. COPD can result in serious, long term disability and is the third leading cause of death in the United States. It kills more than 120,000 Americans each year – that’s one death every four seconds and that number is increasing every year.

The most common symptoms of COPD include shortness of breath, chronic cough, and difficulty performing simple daily tasks, such as climbing stairs.

Those most at risk of developing COPD are individuals who:
• Are over age 40 and currently smoke or smoked at some point
• Worked or lived around chemicals or fumes
• Have certain genetic conditions

If you think you have COPD, you should:
• Talk with your healthcare provider about your symptoms
• Request a breathing test, known as a spirometry
• Quit smoking! If you need help, ask your doctor
• Avoid pollutants or fumes that can irritate your lungs

While you can’t undo the damage COPD has caused to your lungs, there are steps you can take to prevent the condition from getting worse, such as:
• Taking medications as directed by your doctor
• Enrolling in a pulmonary rehabilitation program
• Avoiding factors that can irritate your lungs
• Receiving annual flu and pneumonia vaccines

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.