November is National COPD Awareness Month


COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. As the name suggests, COPD is a persistent lung disease that people live with every day. It is caused by damage or inflammation of the lungs which causes obstruction of air flow and difficulty breathing. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the two main lung conditions that the term COPD is used to describe. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, people with COPD often have both emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

Symptoms of COPD include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. It is important to note that the symptoms of COPD are not exclusive to COPD, but are commonly seen in other diseases and conditions as well. Your health care provider or doctor can diagnose whether these symptoms are in fact COPD. Since there are millions of people with COPD who have not yet been diagnosed, the National Heart, Lungs and Blood Institute recommends that you see your doctor if you have persistent respiratory symptoms. The sooner you start treatment and lifestyle changes to manage COPD, the better.

Since COPD is most often caused by smoking or secondhand smoke, quitting is the most important lifestyle change you can make to manage COPD and prevent further damage to the lungs, according to the Prevention Bureau. disease and health promotion.

How common is COPD?

COPD is very common. Studies have estimated that 10 percent of the adult population worldwide suffers from COPD. Here in the United States, it is estimated that more than 25 million adults suffer from COPD. COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.

What Are the Causes of COPD?

Smoking is the main cause of COPD. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has estimated that about 75 percent of COPD cases occur in people who currently smoke or who have smoked in the past. COPD can also be caused by inhaling second-hand smoke or other lung irritants such as pollution or chemical fumes. Exposure to smoking during childhood and adolescence increases the risk of developing COPD in adulthood by interfering with the growth and development of the lungs.

Treatment and prevention

Once the lungs are damaged by COPD, the damage is permanent. However, there are treatments for COPD and steps you can take to protect yourself and prevent further damage to the lungs.

If you smoke, the best way to prevent and treat COPD is to quit. If you have COPD, stopping smoking can help slow the progression of the disease and prevent complications. If you don’t smoke, avoid exposure to second-hand smoke and other air pollutants, such as air pollution, chemical fumes, and dust, which can irritate the lungs. There are other treatments, such as bronchodilators, inhaled steroids, and oxygen therapy, that can help people with COPD feel better, stay active, and slow the progression of the disease.

Colds and flu can make symptoms of COPD worse. Talk to your doctor about getting a flu shot and protect yourself during cold and flu season by practicing good hand hygiene, getting plenty of rest, and eating a healthy diet.

Resources for quitting smoking

Midland Health’s Lifestyle Medicine Center and Pivot are teaming up to deliver a community-specific pilot smoking cessation program, available free of charge to a limited number of Midland Health patients.

Pivot is a self-study program that deals with smoking, vaping and other tobacco products. Unlike many other smoking cessation programs, Pivot’s innovative approach works even for people who are not currently ready to quit.

For those who smoke cigarettes, Pivot is the only smoking solution that provides each participant with their own portable, FDA-approved device to help quitting more easily. The Pivot SmartSensor measures the levels of carbon monoxide (CO) in the breath and is clinically proven to increase motivation and decrease the number of cigarettes smoked per day.

Pivot is conveniently delivered via your smartphone – personalized for each individual, at their own pace and without the pressure to set a quit date. The Pivot program includes the Pivot application, as well as access to an online community and to a dedicated health coach specially trained in smoking cessation and available through a private chat messaging system integrated into the application. For those who smoke cigarettes, the Pivot SmartSensor and a free nicotine replacement therapy offer are also included.

Places are limited for this pilot program. Only 100 people will be able to participate at the moment. If you would like to enroll in this pilot program, call the Lifestyle Medicine Center at 432-221-5433.


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