November is National COPD Awareness month and organizations around the U.S. are rallying to bring COPD into the forefront of the health and medical communities. Since COPD is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. and it affects over 12 million Americans, it is important that awareness and understanding of COPD be made a priority across the country and around the world.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD, includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis and results in an obstruction of airflow into and out of the lungs. While COPD cannot be cured, it can be successfully treated and managed if detected and diagnosed early.
By setting aside the entire month of November for COPD Awareness, it is the hope and goal of many organizations, such as the COPD Foundation and the American Lung Association that we spread the word about COPD and in so doing increase research and general appreciation for the potentially debilitating effects of this illness.
As part of COPD Awareness Month, the COPD Learn More Breathe Better Campaign has released the results of surveys that they have been conducting since 2004. According to the survey, 68 percent of adults have heard of the disease; this is an increase from 64 percent in 2008 and 49 percent in 2004. To learn more about this campaign, visit www.learnaboutcopd.org.
If you believe that you know someone who might have undiagnosed COPD, the American Lung Association has a COPD toolkit to help people accurately report their symptoms of COPD to their healthcare professional. This will aid in the development of a COPD action plan under the guidance of their physician. Visit http://www.lungusa.org/lung-disease/copd/living-with-copd/copd-management-tools.html for more information.
In addition, the COPD Foundation recommends being screened for the illness by logging onto DRIVE4COPD.com. Here, you will be asked five quick questions that will help determine if you are at risk for COPD. The results of this quiz should be discussed with your healthcare professional.
Last month, DRIVE4COPD.com and the COPD Coalition, another Awareness advocate, hosted the Congressional Health Briefing on the State of COPD in America. The purpose of this Briefing was to educate policymakers and their staff on the needs of the COPD community. It was at this Briefing that the color Orange was declared the new official color of COPD Awareness.
Next month, the Second National COPD Conference will be held in Crystal City, near Arlington, VA and just outside our nation’s capital. This conference will bring together COPD patients, healthcare professionals, government agencies and advocacy groups to assess the future of COPD research and education and, most importantly, to set up a plan for the future of COPD Awareness.
Last, but not least, November 16th is World COPD Day and the Colorado Society for Respiratory Care Student Chapter is providing general information and free spirometry testing to the public. So, if you are in Denver, CO on that day, please come by and speak to one of the Respiratory Therapists at the Capitol Building at Lincoln and Colfax (1st floor, north area). They will be there all day long, from 9:00AM to 4:30PM. Don’t miss this opportunity to be tested for FREE.
By increasing the number of conferences, educational seminars and patient advocacy groups, public awareness of disorders such as COPD will move to the forefront of American and worldwide consciousness. When this happens, it brings hope for the future of COPD patients everywhere.