November is National COPD Awareness Month.
COPD is an acronym for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It is a chronic respiratory or lung disease that block airflow, and makes it difficult to breathe. It is usually a mix of two diseases: chronic bronchitis and emphysema. This disease is also quite common. Smoking is a common cause. Secondhand smoke may also damage the lungs. It is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Most people with this disease experience breathlessness. Rescue inhalers and inhaled or oral steroids can help control symptoms and minimize further damage. Many people mistake their breathlessness and coughing as a normal part of their aging, but it isn’t. Wheezing is another symptom of COPD. There is no cure for this disease, but treatment may help. Damage caused by this disease to the lungs can’t be reversed.
The chronic in its name means it can last for years or last a lifetime. It can also worsen overtime. COPD can develop for years without a noticeable breathlessness. Usually when people start showing symptoms they are older than 60. A simple breathing test known as spirometry can diagnose this disease. Always getting your flu and pneumonia shots can help manage COPD.
#hospicemonth #hospiceawareness #hpm