COPD AWARENESS: SPOTLIGHT ON PREVENTION & DISEASE MANAGEMENT
- Over 11 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COPD. The disease impacts not only the person suffering from the disease, but family members and caretakers are affected.
WHAT IS COPD?
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a chronic lung disease that is often preventable. Frequently referred to as emphysema or chronic bronchitis, it damages the lungs and worsens over time. The disease affects your ability to work, sleep and perform your normal activities of daily living. COPD most frequently affects smokers and former smokers over the age of 40.
- The good news is that COPD is preventable. Smoking is the leading cause of COPD, so quitting smoking is the single biggest preventive measure you can take. Other contributing factors for COPD include exposure to secondhand smoke, fumes from chemicals, dust and air pollution.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF COPD
- Unfortunately, most people don’t notice any symptoms of COPD until the disease has become advanced. The most common symptoms of COPD are shortness of breath during daily activities, fatigue, blue lips/fingernails, wheezing, tightness in the chest area, or a lingering cough that produces phlegm. Other symptoms include frequent respiratory infections.
LIVING WITH COPD
- At this time, there is no cure for COPD. Therefore, it is helpful to reduce lung irritants by quitting smoking and avoiding exposure to secondhand smoke, fumes and dust.
- After being diagnosed with COPD, your life will change. You will experience physical and emotional challenges. You may experience anxiety, depression or stress. As you learn to manage the COPD, your quality of life will improve. Be sure to see your doctor regularly and take your medications as prescribed. Eat a healthy diet, exercise and get emotional support.
RESOURCES – HELP IS AVAILABLE
- Because of the nature of this disease, it is very important that you understand the disease, follow your doctor’s recommendations, and take your medications as prescribed. Joining a support group, or other supportive environment, will help deal with your emotions as you learn to live with this disease.
Recover Health, a regional full-service home health care provider, works in collaboration with health care providers by providing a variety of home health care services to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives and healthcare journey.