Better Breather Clubs Offer Tips, Support for those with COPD, Chronic Lung Disease

(December 8, 2011)

The American Lung Association is reminding New Yorkers suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other chronic lung diseases that Better Breather Clubs are offered throughout the state to help them better manage their condition and get needed support.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) refers to a group of diseases, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis that cause airflow blockage and breathing-related problems. COPD is characterized by frequent exacerbations of symptoms such as chest tightness, shortness of breath, coughing, and excessive mucus production. COPD is a remarkably common and growing problem.

“Participating in a Better Breathers Club is a way for patients with COPD and chronic lung disease to learn more about their condition and get tips to manage their disease so they can stay healthy,” said Irwin Berlin, MD board chair of the American Lung Association in New York.  “Patients come together in a relaxed, supportive environment and benefit from interaction with other patients who understand what they are going through.  Having this support system has a positive impact on patient health.”  

Better Breathers Clubs meet regularly.  Some of the topics that are covered at meetings include:

·         How COPD affects the lungs

·         Breathing techniques

·         Exercise

·         Talking with your physician

·         Medications and other treatment options

·         Medical tests

·         Supplemental oxygen

·         Home health care

·         Lung transplants

·         Air pollution

A listing of Better Breather Clubs throughout the State of New York can be found here on the American Lung Association in New York’s website at www.alany.org

While clubs are not offered in every community in New York State, the American Lung Association is committed to expanding the number of clubs so more patients with COPD and chronic lung disease can benefit.  Individuals and organizations interested in starting a Better Breathers Club in their area are encouraged to contact Michele Tufano at the American Lung Association in New York at mtufano@alany.org to request information and materials.

Patients with COPD who have questions about their disease are encouraged to the call the American Lung Association’s Lung HelpLine where they can speak with a Registered Nurse of Registered Respiratory Therapist. The Lung HelpLine can be reached by calling 1-800-LUNGUSA or 1-800-586-4872.