Assessing Support Systems for COPD Awareness Month
Enlisting friends and family can make a huge difference for the 11.4 million Americans living with COPD
(November 14, 2017) - ATLANTA
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Over 11 million Americans live with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but the numbers affected by this serious, chronic lung disease are far more reaching. A diagnosis of COPD, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, comes with many physical and emotional challenges that can affect the whole family and circle of friends.
During COPD Awareness Month, the American Lung Association spotlights the millions of American directly and indirectly affected by this disease. From chronic cough and shortness of breath to fatigue and wheezing, it is difficult to breathe with COPD and over time symptoms and flare-ups worsen. But with a strong support network, COPD can be managed so that individuals can live full and active lives.
This November, take stock of those people that can be part of the strong support needed to manage COPD.
- Healthcare provider. The most important part of managing COPD is connecting with a healthcare provider about medication, how to properly take it and how symptoms are developing. Creating a COPD Management Plan with a healthcare provider can help with day to day care, and what to do if an emergency should occur.
- Caregiver. Whether a partner, a good friend, or a trustworthy healthcare aide, having the stability of someone who can help with daily medication reminders, trips to the doctor's office or just a walk around the park can be a huge relief. Being able to rely on someone else can help ease the stress and burden of COPD.
- Family & Friends. Most people want to help, but don't know how. Allow friends and family to help with tasks around the house, and ask for help when you need it. Having a regular coffee or phone date on the calendar can give friends something to look forward to and a reason to get up and moving.
- Better Breathers Clubs. In-person adult support groups for individuals with chronic lung disease, their family members, friends and caregivers, are available at over 500 locations throughout the United States. Facilitated by a trained health educator, Better Breathers Clubs offer the opportunity to learn ways to better cope with a lung disease like COPD, pulmonary fibrosis, and lung cancer while getting the support of others in similar situations. Find a local Better Breathers Club at Lung.org/better-breathers.
- Lung HelpLine. Sometimes a question is too complex for a search engine. Registered nurses, respiratory therapists and counselors are available at the Lung Association's Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNGUSA or through chat at Lung.org/helpline. Detailed and accurate information is available and callers are connected with the same specialist for check-ins and call backs.
For more information about COPD, and tips on how to better manage care, visit the American Lung Association website at Lung.org/copd or call the free Lung HelpLine 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872).
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
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