Lung Disease Meetings/Events

November is COPD Awareness Month

We are proud to have the support of Governor John Hickenlooper who has issued a proclamation declaring November COPD Awareness Month. (PDF)

You may have heard the term COPD before — COPD is short for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and is a serious lung disease that over time makes it hard to breathe. If it remains untreated, COPD can affect everyday activities. Unfortunately, symptoms are often shrugged off as a normal part of getting older or a consequence of being out of shape. This November, during National COPD Awareness Month, the American Lung Association in Colorado is asking you to take the first steps to fight this lung disease by learning more about COPD.

Also known as emphysema or chronic bronchitis, COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States. It affects one in five adults in the U.S. over the age of 45 and an estimated 24 million Americans, yet as many as half remain undiagnosed. In people who have COPD, the airway tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs are partially blocked, making it hard to breathe. The disease develops slowly and usually worsens over time. A chronic cough, hacking, wheezing and shortness of breath during daily tasks can be the first signs of COPD. All too often these early symptoms go ignored.

COPD occurs most often in people age 40 and over with a history of smoking (both current and former smokers). However, as many as one out of six people with COPD have never smoked. Other risk factors include long-term exposure to second hand smoke, certain chemicals, and dust or fumes in the workplace. In some people, COPD can be caused by a genetic condition known as alpha-1 antitrypsin, or AAT, deficiency.

While there is no cure for COPD — early diagnosis and treatment can help people with COPD improve their symptoms and get back to the things they love doing. We urge to review the COPD Management Tools, get help by attending a Better Breather Club meeting near you, and talk to your healthcare provider about the benefits of pulmonary rehabilitation program.