November is Awareness Month for COPD, an umbrella term used to describe conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and others. These are progressive diseases that begin slowly and develops over decades. The symptoms include excessive coughing with mucus production and shortness of breathe especially upon exertion. Fatigue is another symptom of COPD, thought to be because of the increased energy we needed to breathe. Also, having frequent respiratory infections and excess weight loss due to muscle wasting.

Statistics on COPD

Risk Factors

Smoking is the biggest risk factor to COPD but it is not the only risk factor. On average only about 30% or 1 in 5 people who smoke will actually develop COPD.  Researchers  however, have concerns about the upcoming teenaged generation who erroneously believe vaping is a safe alternative to smoking. In fact, studies show that the effects of vaping could be worse than smoking. Vaping among the adult population could undue all the progress made by Stop Smoking Campaigns over the last 3 decades.

More Risk Factors

Occupational exposure to dust and chemicals along with areas with high pollution or general poor air quality with smog. It is wise to stay away from burning and open fires or events or wildfires. Age also plays a role as our lungs naturally get weaker and lose their elasticity as we age.  Genetics can also play a part too, with something called Alpha 1,  a deficiency of the liver secretions. These are secretions meant to protect your lungs and without that protection your lungs deteriorate. Radon in the home and workplace have been the cause of many cases of COPD.

Your Future

Although there is no cure at this time, COPD is treatable and with exercise, a proper diet and keeping your thoughts positive we can slow COPD’s advancement.  Medical science is progressing and help could be right around the corner, but, we all need to do our part in having government’s direct funding toward our disease. If we continue to spend scant dollars on research it will take longer to find the cure

Be A Quitter

If you smoke, talk to your doctor about smoking cessation products. Lungs do not repair themselves, so quitting before the damage happens is essential. Also, consider changing your environment, if that is at all possible. These are two factors important to halt the advancing stages of COPD.

Diagnosis is an Easy Test

Spirometry is the standard test used to measure breathing ability. You may also have a chest x-ray.

Helping Your Doctor Help You

  • Always get your yearly flu shot
  • Get your pneumonia every 5 years.
  • Have your doctor or pharmacy show you how to properly use your puffer and take all meds as directed.


Helping Yourself

Keeping a daily journal of symptoms, be Aware of weather and atmosphere changes.and the triggers in your overall feeling and symptoms could be a good tool to take to doctors appointments. Always keep a list of meds on your phone or in your journal and be vigilant about keeping it up to date. Talk to your doctor about a rescue plan for exacerbation’s or worsening of symptoms.

Find a support group to help you with your emotional support by joining an in person or online group and find a person or caregiver you can lean on when you need emotional support. Keeping active and following an exercise regiment will help you control some of your COPD symptoms. Attending Respiratory Rehab is a perfect first step to management.

Be Aware of abdominal breathing as a goal tor exercise. Challenge others and motivate yourself to keep moving. Don’t make excuses just put yourself first. and never let anyone else make decisions for you that are not in your best interest.






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