November is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Awareness Month
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease¹ (COPD) is the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States. The disease kills more than 120,000 Americans each year; that’s 1 death every 4 minutes and causes serious, long-term disability. The number of people with COPD is increasing. More than 12 million people are diagnosed with COPD and an additional 12 million likely have the disease and don’t even know it. Here are 4 things YOU can do to live a longer, more active life.
- Be aware of the risk factors
- Recognize the symptoms
- Ask your doctor or health care provider about a simple breathing test
- Follow treatment advice
A person may have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) but not notice symptoms² until it is in the moderate stage. This is why it’s important to ask your doctor about taking a breathing test (called spirometry) if you are a current or former smoker, have been exposed to harmful lung irritants for a long period of time, or have a history of COPD in your family, such as Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency related COPD. A spirometry test measures how well your lungs are working. It’s a simple and easy test that can help diagnose COPD.
Whether you are a large group or an individual, there is something we all can do to help those who may be affected by COPD. To assist you in your efforts, below is an Outreach Toolkit. Feel free to use all or parts of the Outreach Toolkit featuring the following resources:
- Smart Steps Fact Sheet, ³ a new fact sheet about small first steps to take to raise awareness and diagnosis of COPD.
- Better Talk Means Better Treatment,4 an infographic with data on some of the communication barriers between providers and patients when it comes to talking about COPD.
- Get the Most from Your Office Visit,5 a fact sheet for those who think they may be suffering from COPD to help them make the most of their time with their health care provider.
- Talking with Your Patients about COPD,6 a fact sheet geared toward health care providers to help them start the conversation about COPD with their patients. You can also use the COPD Population Screener 7.