COPD Awareness Month

COPD Awareness Month

November is COPD Awareness Month. That means there’s no better time to get involved and help share information about this widespread respiratory disease in your community. 

According to the American Lung Association, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) affects more than 16 million people in the United States. But it’s estimated that millions of Americans are already living with COPD—without even knowing it [1].

This month, and all year long, we’re working to increase public awareness about COPD by helping others recognize its symptoms early, so they can find an effective treatment plan.

COPD umbrellaCommunity Resources for COPD

Below, we’ve listed helpful facts and information about COPD. Check out our resources and help us spread the word about this respiratory condition to people in your own community.  

What We Know About COPD

COPD is an umbrella term used to describe other progressive lung diseases that obstruct the airways and make breathing more difficult. These illnesses include 

Though smoking, or exposure to tobacco smoke, is a leading cause of COPD, there are other known risk factors that can leave you more susceptible to this condition. 

These risk factors include

  • Living with a preexisting lung condition (i.e., asthma, emphysema, or chronic bronchitis)
  • Certain genetic disorders, such as alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency
  • Long-term exposure to chemicals, burning fuels, and pollution [3]

Man living with COPD coughing into hand.COPD symptoms can include:

  • Chronic cough or wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Recurring respiratory infections
  • Fatigue
  • Mucus build-up and changes in sputum color
  • Tightness in chest [4]

To date, there is no known cure for COPD. However, early detection is the best defense against this disease-causing further damage to your lungs: 

Even for more advanced stages of disease, effective therapy is available that can control symptoms, slow progression, reduce your risk of complications, exacerbations, and improve your ability to lead an active life.” [5]

Lesser Known Facts about COPD

COPD can coexist with other chronic lung diseases. For instance, many patients living with COPD may also experience symptoms of bronchiectasis, yet are unaware of this comorbid condition

The reason an overlap of bronchiectasis symptoms may go undetected is because there is only one way to accurately diagnose bronchiectasis: a high-resolution computerized tomography (HRCT) scan. However, when testing for COPD, your doctor may use one of the following methods instead:

  • Chest X-ray
  • CT Scan
  • Blood Test
  • Lung Function Test [6]

Though helpful in detecting COPD, these tests won’t be able to discern a prevalence of bronchiectasis. And what this could mean is you or a loved one is not receiving the right therapy treatment to help relieve symptoms and prevent future damage to the lungs.

COPD and bronchiectasis share many similarities, which is another reason why bronchiectasis goes undetected. However, if you’re experiencing a repeated cycle of respiratory inflammation and infection, in addition to shortness of breath, mucus buildup, and chronic fatigue, it might be time to ask your doctor about getting tested for bronchiectasis. 

Community Resources for COPD Patients

To help you learn how to talk to your doctor about COPD and bronchiectasis, watch our “Ask a Pulmonologist” series, featuring Dr. Frederic Seifer. Here, you’ll be able to view and share videos on a wide range of topics related to your individual condition, including:

Could a Person Have Bronchiectasis and COPD

As we mentioned above, it’s not uncommon for loved ones to experience symptoms of COPD and bronchiectasis simultaneously. This video walks you through how to understand their differences, so you know when it’s time to speak to your clinician about getting tested for bronchiectasis. 

How to Talk to Your Doctor about Bronchiectasis

In this video, Dr. Seifer discusses how you can become an advocate for yourself and your COPD/bronchiectasis treatment plan. 

In addition to these videos, our blog features many helpful articles for patients living with COPD. From how to create a COPD action plan to learning helpful breathing techniques for therapy, we offer an assortment of resources that you can read and share with loved ones! 

COPD Lifestyle Resources

COPD and Bronchiectasis

COPD Health & Wellness Resources

COPD Awareness in Your Community

You can also find incredible online resources from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute for videos, publications, and social media resources, or the COPD Foundation for news, community groups, and other ideas on how to help spread COPD awareness!

DID YOU KNOW?

As each person will experience COPD symptoms individually, your treatment may vary from other COPD patients. For some, your clinician may prescribe an algorithm of medications and airway clearance therapy.

High frequency chest wall oscillation (HFCWO) therapy is an effective form of airway clearance therapy and is recommended for patients living with COPD, bronchiectasis, cystic fibrosis, and other impaired breathing conditions. When a chronic lung condition like COPD or bronchiectasis disrupts natural airflow, our lungs lose their ability to mobilize and clear mucus independently. This makes us more susceptible to repeated infection and inflammation (i.e. COPD flare ups).

HFCWO therapy works by delivering repeated pulses of air that gently squeeze and release the upper chest wall. The oscillation of air helps thin and propel mucus upward, where it is more easily coughed up.

Of course, not every HFCWO therapy device is the same. SmartVest, for instance, releases 91% of its air between compressions, creating more breathing room and comfort for patients during therapy. It’s also clinically proven to help reduce hospitalizations and improve lung stability [7] while lowering medical costs [8] for patients living with a chronic lung condition.

To learn more about SmartVest and how it can help you experience relief from your COPD or comorbid symptoms, request an informational packet from us today! 

Request a Patient Packet

 

 

 

 

You can also speak with one of our patient care advocates to ask questions and get the facts about airway clearance via SmartVest. Call them directly at 1.855.528.5690 or schedule a time at the link below and they will call you.

Graphic icon to connect with Mike and Lori

Already a SmartVest User?

Woman wearing her SmartVestShare your story with us, and we will donate $5 to the COPD Foundation. Or, like our Facebook page this month, and we will donate $1.

You can also speak with one of our patient care advocates to ask questions and get the facts about airway clearance via SmartVest. Call them directly at 1.855.528.5690 or schedule a time at the link below and they will call you.

What Others Have to Say about SmartVest

Still of Georgia

“I breathe better, walk better, sweep the floor, do dishes—the things you can’t do if you don’t move that mucus out of there.” -Georgia
Read her full story.

“SmartVest is awesome. I can breathe a lot easier and can do things I haven’t been able to for five years. I get around a lot better without having to stop and catch my breath. I use my SmartVest faithfully. When I feel worse, I use it with my nebulizer several times a day. I’d be dead without mine! Thank you, SmartVest!” -Janet 

“SmartVest has been great therapy for my COPD. I’ve been using it for about 7 months and my COPD episodes are fewer and less frequent. I guess you can say it’s working!!!” -Josephine

“Best there is! Changed my life totally. [I’m] no longer on oxygen.” -Richard


Resources

[1] American Lung Association. “Learn about COPD.” Retrieved from https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/copd/learn-about-copd

[2] COPD Foundation. “What Is COPD Fact Sheet.” Retrieved from https://www.copdfoundation.org/pdfs/What-is-COPD-Fact-Sheet.pdf

 [3] Mayo Clinic. “COPD: Diagnosis & Treatment.” Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/copd/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353685

[4] Mayo Clinic. “COPD: Diagnosis & Treatment.” Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/copd/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353685

[5] Mayo Clinic. “COPD: Diagnosis & Treatment.” Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/copd/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353685

 [6] Mayo Clinic. “COPD: Diagnosis & Treatment.” Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/copd/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353685

[7] Powner, J, et al. Employment of Algorithms of Care Including Chest Physiotherapy Results in Reduced Hospitalizations and Stability of Lung Function in Bronchiectasis. BMC Pulmonary Medicine, BioMed Central. 25 Apr. 2019.

[8] Sievert CE, et al. 2017. Cost-Effective Analysis of Using High Frequency Chest Wall Oscillation (HFCWO) in Patients with Non-Cystic Fibrosis Bronchiectasis. Respiratory Therapy, 12(1), 45-49.

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