November 1st marked the beginning of COPD Awareness Month and many people around the world are hosting events this month to raise awareness for COPD.
We often spend the month trying to get new and important information out to those who are struggling with the disease.
On top of our daily tips on our Facebook page, we are going to discuss the importance of sharing information and raising awareness.
Knowing what you can do to help a loved one by sharing information about their health, or helping them understand your health can open a better line of communication and understanding.
Here are some posts from years past:
Share the articles above to others to help everyone get a better understanding of COPD and what they can do for their loved ones or themselves.
There are ways to help support the expansion and knowledge of COPD, which can help those close to you learn more about your condition or you can go in support of a loved one.
We often see many people complain that their family and friends simply do not understand COPD or how they feel, keeping them closed off from their loved ones.
COPD Awareness Month is the perfect time to share with others how you feel and how important it is that they understand your health.
What is COPD:
COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a broad term for lung diseases such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
COPD is a progressive disease that makes it harder for the individual to breathe, and it gets worse over time.
Symptoms often include mucus, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and often irritation and inflammation of the airway lining.
Mucus can also build up and become thick in the airways, making it very difficult to breathe.
The most prevalent cause of COPD is smoking, but you do not have to smoke in order to get COPD.
How to Raise Awareness:
Wear Orange: Orange is the color for COPD, and wearing orange, or a custom shirt about COPD can allow others to ask questions and learn more about COPD. It can be handy to carry flyers with you and hand them out to others who may have questions.
Attend an Event: Some events may not be for you, such as a marathon/walkathon, but all events held have the same purpose, to raise awareness. Even if you cannot participate in the marathon/walkathon, you can go cheer those who are participating on. The American Lung Association provides expos and events near you that you can attend to help grow support and learn about new information.
Join a Support Group: Support groups are a great way to get out of the house with others in similar situations and talk about COPD. You can learn a lot from others and even organize an event in your area, try putting together an informal discussion for the community or an online forum to discuss and ask questions about COPD. You can also have a night where everyone in the group brings a friend or someone they feel is at risk of developing COPD. You can try setting up tables at libraries, malls, churches or community centers/events to help spread awareness (make sure to ask permission first)!
Online Resources: When preparing for an event, check out online resources for helpful fact sheets and informational pamphlets to hand out at your event or to share with close friends in family so they better understand your condition. Many websites, such as the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), COPD Foundation and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) all have great resources you can share with those who may not know much, or anything about COPD.
World COPD Day: World COPD Day is an event held by the Global Initiate for Chronic Obstructive Lung Diseases (GOLD) in collaboration COPD patients and health care professionals. This even is held worldwide, in nearly 50 countries on the third Wednesday of November (November 21st, 2018). Look into event near you and go with a few friends or family to spread awareness.
Learn More, Breathe Better: A educational campaign (run by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute) is a nationwide campaign that is used to help spread awareness and educate the public. Their website has very helpful resources for those who may not know enough or anything about COPD.
Share this with others, to help educate them about COPD and what they can do to help share with others.
Why Awareness Month Is Important:
Part of the issue with a COPD diagnosis’ is that many people do not report any symptoms to their health care providers, resulting in the condition worsening without any measures to ease symptoms.
It is also very common for patients to not inform their health care provider of a smoking history, as they feel it is personal or irrelevant.
Once those individuals feel that they are ready to speak with a doctor about COPD, there are a few things that should be done before they head to the doctor:
- Learn about COPD symptoms
- Learn about the risks
- Prepare for possible tests in the office
- Bring questions for your doctor (write them out if it will help you remember)
- Bring a friend (if that makes you feel more comfortable)
It can be a scary trip to the doctor as you may not know what will result from the visit, but that is no reason to avoid the doctor’s office.
The sooner you visit the doctor, the sooner you can be diagnosed and begin medications and measures to lessen the symptoms.
Top Facts to Know:
- In 2015 there were 3.2 million deaths from COPD
- COPD can affect more than those who spoke up to their doctor
- Rural living can make it harder to get to a hospital or a doctor’s office
- Weight & depression can be hard to manage with COPD
- Shortness of breath is not always a symptom of COPD
- 49.9 billion dollars are spent annually on ER visits, hospitalizations and lost productivity for those with COPD
Helpful Links for COPD:
Breath Test: this short quiz will let you know if your current state of breathing should be checked out by a doctor.
State Assessment: this assessment rates the state you live in by how common COPD is, the statistics of gender, vaccinations and hospitalizations.
State Fact Info: similar to the state assessment but with a bit more detailed information for you. It details the finances, age, education and employment status of those diagnosed with COPD.
COPD Awareness Month is a month for those with COPD to spread awareness about the disease, and for those without it to get tested and learn more about it.
There are tons of way to help raise awareness, from wearing orange to hosting your own COPD event, no matter what you choose to do you can help bring awareness.
Though it can be scary to go to the doctors when you suspect COPD symptoms, the sooner you go, the better chance you will have of managing your health.
With over 3.2 million deaths a year, COPD is a very serious disease that is not discussed enough.
This month, share articles and informational pamphlets that can help educate those who may not know anything about the disease.
Every month, try to educate others and yourself about COPD and share information you find helpful.