Many of us have never heard of the third leading cause of death in the United States, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), known more commonly as emphysema or chronic bronchitis. Yet, it affects one in five adults in the U.S .over the age of 45, which amounts to 24 million Americans, with more than half remaining undiagnosed.
November is National COPD Awareness Month. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the Allen County Tobacco Free Coalition are asking all of us to take the first steps to fight this disease:
• Learn more about COPD
• Fight like crazy for people to stop smoking. Smoking is by far the most common reason people develop COPD. In fact, if you never smoke, it is very unlikely you will ever get COPD.
Symptoms, like frequent shortness of breath, chronic cough, wheezing and excessive phlegm come on slowly and worsen over time and often blamed on normal aging or being out of shape. If left untreated, people with COPD gradually lose their stamina and ability to perform daily activities. But with early diagnosis and smoking cessation, COPD can be treated successfully and people with COPD can get back to doing the things they love.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please talk with your health care provider and ask for a simple breathing test called a Spirometry.
To find out more about COPD, visit COPD - Learn More, Breathe Better, an awareness campaign of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health at COPD.nhlbi.nih.gov.
— Dr. Marc Rovner,Center for Pulmonary Medicine