COPD – Living One Breath at a Time

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Pic--COPD Here is something I had published this week in ‘The McPherson News’ a weekly newspaper in McPherson, Ks. (Link is – – http://www.mcphersonweeklynews.com/copd-living-one-breath-at-a-time/ )

I give some statistics as well as facts and myths of COPD – letting folks know that this is COPD Awareness Month.

Enjoy!

COPD – Living One Breath at a Time

By William Snesrud, the McPherson News

If someone asked you what the top three causes of death are in the United States were, what would you answer?

Most people will get the first two without much doubt because everyone knows someone who has or had heart disease and cancer.  But the number three cause of death in the United States, how many would know that it is Chronic Pulmonary Obstructive Disease or better known as COPD.

The month of November is ‘COPD Awareness Month’ which is important as COPD affects an estimated 24 million Americans throughout all 50 states with over half of them having strong symptoms of COPD and do not know or realize it. Here in Kansas the estimated COPD prevalence rate shows that 6.2% of the population is affected by some type of COPD.

According to the COPD Foundation, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is an umbrella term used in describing several progressive lung diseases including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, refractory (non-reversible) asthma and some forms of bronchiectasis.

Among the many risk factors and common causes of COPD are smoking, inhaling pollutants, chemicals, exhaust fumes and even dust.  In some cases genetics can also play a role in an individual’s being diagnosed with COPD – especially if the person has never smoked or been exposed to strong lung irritants in industrial areas or in the workplace.

Among the myths and facts about COPD are:

COPD only strikes people that smoke – that is a MYTH as long-term exposure to pollutants can also put one at risk.

COPD is only found in older people – that is a MYTH as COPD can strike at any age.

Early diagnosis helps – that is a FACT because early detection can help keep the disease at under control through a strong defensive program.

COPD only affects the lungs – that is a MYTH as being chronically short of breath can cause high blood pressure and a higher risk of heart disease.

COPD is incurable – that is a FACT, though COPD is treatable a person can’t reverse the damage done to lung tissue they can only slow down the destruction and manage the disease itself.

Shortness of breath is the main symptom – that is a FACT, which is why people who mistake their increased shortness of breath and coughing as getting older are the same people that need to be checked out since COPD can develop over many years before shortness of breath becomes noticeable and life changing.

Something the COPD Foundation encourages is for people to get more information on COPD by asking your doctor or check out information found through the COPD Foundation website.

It’s ‘COPD Awareness Month’ so if you or anyone you know has symptoms involving lung and breathing functionality that has lingered over a lengthy period of time while disrupting a lifestyle – then please ask questions and get it checked out.

Remember – a person without breathing will become a person without life itself.

 

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