World COPD Day
World COPD Day 2011 is this Wednesday, November 16. The goal of this annual event, organized by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD), is to improve the awareness and care for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) around the world. The first World COPD Day was in 2002.
The theme this year is "Are you short of breath? You may have COPD! Ask your doctor about a simple breathing test called spirometry."
What is COPD?
COPD is an umbrella term including two lung conditions that can lead to the blocking of airflow out of the lungs. This results in shortness of breath, especially with activity and is often associated with a chronic cough and mucus production. COPD most often includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema but may also include bronchiectasis and non-reversible asthma.
Could I be at risk for having COPD?
- During the past 4 weeks, have you felt short of breath some, most, or all of the time?
- Do you cough up mucus a few days a month, most days each week, or every day?
- Have you cut back on activities due to shortness of breath within the past 12 months?
- Have you smoked100 cigarettes or more over your lifetime?
- Do you have a history of working in an environment with dust, chemicals or other breathing hazards?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, ask your doctor about taking a simple spirometry test to check for COPD.
What If I Do Have COPD?
The most important thing to know about COPD is that it is not a death sentence! Although there is currently no cure and it is a progressive disease, there is treatment available. COPD can progress very slowly – that’s why it can take so long for you to notice it in the first place!
Quit - If you smoke cigarettes, quit. Quitting smoking is – by far – the best way to slow the progression of COPD. However…even if you can’t manage to quit smoking right now, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t seek treatment. Go to your doctor, get tested and be honest with him or her about your health habits.
Learn all you can about COPD from solid resources such as here at Health Central, theCOPD Foundation, and others.
Connect with people who have COPD through a Better Breathers support group or online community.
Check if you qualify for pulmonary rehabilitation, a program of exercise and education especially designed for people with shortness of breath.
Take action and you’ll be on your way to the best breathing – and best quality of life – possible!
World COPD Day in Your Country
World COPD Day includes events and activities around the world. Go to World COPD Day activities planned for your area and select a country (scroll down to "Multi-Nation Activities" for information about events taking place in more than one country).
Jane M. Martin is a licensed respiratory therapist, teacher and the founder and director of http://www.Breathingbetterlivingwell.com and the author of Live Your Life With COPD: 52 Weeks of Health, Happiness and Hope and Breathe Better, Live in Wellness: Winning Your Battle Over Shortness of Breath.