Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, often called COPD, chronic bronchitis or emphysema, is a chronic disease that affects the quality of life of millions of Americans.
COPD is characterized by the inflammation and thickening of the airways in the lungs, which causes a disruption of the normal flow of air in and out of the lungs. As a result, less oxygen is able to get into the body, which makes it harder for the body to get rid of carbon dioxide.
Here are a few of the top risk factors for developing COPD:
- Exposure to air pollution and secondhand smoke
- Regularly working with chemicals, dust and fumes
- A history of childhood respiratory infections
Avoiding secondhand smoke or quitting smoking not only reduce your risk for COPD, they also reduce your risk for other diseases like lung cancer. Quitting smoking can be difficult, but it’s possible to overcome the addiction with the right plan and support. If you’re ready to take the first step towards quitting and reducing your risk of COPD, join us in the hospital cafeteria on Thursday, November 17, from 11am-1pm as we take part in the Great American Smokeout. This national observance is a day to quit smoking – or pledge to quit smoking – and learn about tools and support that can help you live a tobacco-free life.
If you’ve been diagnosed with COPD, lifestyle changes like quitting tobacco, monitoring air quality, remaining active and protecting yourself from illness by receiving and annual flu shot can help you live a better, more fulfilling life. For additional tips on managing COPD, check out these resources from the American Lung Association.
As with any chronic disease, seeking support is a good way to stay on track. Better Breathers Clubs offer patient-focused, community-based support for people with COPD and other chronic lung diseases. The Better Breathers Club at UM Charles Regional Medical Center meets every other month and can help you improve your quality of life if you’ve received a COPD diagnosis. To learn more or register for this free support group visit our website or call (888) 332-4847.