November is COPD Awareness Month. COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which is a respiratory ailment that causes shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. Common symptoms of COPD include chronic coughing, excessive phlegm, wheezing and feeling like you simply can’t breathe. The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute states that 120,000 Americans die each year from COPD.
Very rarely, COPD can be brought on by a genetic disorder. However, the chief causes of COPD are smoking and exposure to chemicals and dust in the workplace. Once your lungs are damaged, there is no way to reverse it. However, there are treatment options available that could help you breathe easier. Respiratory therapists can help you with breathing exercises that can help you breathe easier throughout the day.
The Mayo Clinic states that people who suffer from COPD are more likely to deal with other health issues, including high blood pressure, respiratory infections and heart problems. People who suffer from COPD often lose their breath performing simple daily activities. COPD can even affect your mental health- when you can no longer participate in activities you enjoy due to your COPD, you many start to feel depressed. It’s important to reach out to your respiratory therapist and surround yourself with people who understand what you are going through. COPD support groups can be highly beneficial for people struggling with the disorder.
According to the American Lung Association, over 12 million Americans have been diagnosed with COPD, and an estimated 12 million more have the disorder, but have not yet been diagnosed. Talk to your doctor today if you are concerned for your health, or for the health of a loved one. If you have questions regarding COPD treatment options, contact CarePro Home Medical’s knowledgeable respiratory therapy team at 319-298-0953 (Cedar Rapids) or 319-351-3930 (Coralville).
Sources include: http://www.lung.org/about-us/our-impact/top-stories/november-is-copd-awareness-1.html; http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/lung/copd/event-listing/awareness-month/index.htm; http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/copd/DS00916.