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 12.5 million people in the United States. But it’s estimated that millions of Americans already live 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 to find an effective treatment plan. 

COPD umbrellaCOPD Resources

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 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 COPD4, other known risk factors 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 pollution5

Man living with COPD coughing into hand.

COPD symptoms can include

  • Chronic cough or wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Recurring respiratory infections
  • Fatigue
  • Mucus buildup and changes in sputum color
  • Tightness in chest6

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.”7

Lesser Known Facts about COPD

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

An overlap of bronchiectasis symptoms may go undetected 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:

  • Chest X-ray
  • CT Scan
  • Spirometry
  • Alpha-1 Testing8

Though helpful in detecting COPD, these tests won’t be able to discern a prevalence of bronchiectasis. And this could mean you or a loved one is not receiving the proper 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 often goes undetected. However, if you’re experiencing a repeated cycle of respiratory inflammation and infection, 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 talk to your doctor about an overlap of COPD and bronchiectasis symptoms, 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.

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

In the next 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 people living with chronic lung conditions. From creating a COPD action plan to learning practical breathing techniques for therapy, we offer an assortment of resources you can read and share with loved ones! 

COPD Lifestyle Resources

Bronchiectasis and COPD

COPD Health & Wellness Resources

Spread 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!


If your clinician diagnoses you with a comorbidity of COPD and bronchiectasis symptoms, you may qualify for The SmartVest Airway Clearance System?

SmartVest is a high-frequency chest wall oscillation (HFCWO) therapy device that helps patients experience symptom relief from mucus buildup, respiratory inflammation, and repeated infections.

How It Works

Our HFCWO therapy device delivers 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.

SmartVest also provides a more comfortable experience, releasing 91% of its air between compressions to create more BREATHING ROOM™ for patients during therapy.9 SmartVest is also clinically proven to help reduce hospitalizations and improve lung stability10 while lowering medical costs11 for patients with chronic lung conditions.

If you believe you’re experiencing a prevalence of bronchiectasis symptoms with COPD, talk to your doctor about getting a HRCT scan right away! In the meantime, you can request an informational packet to learn more about how SmartVest works to help break the cycle of mucus buildup, inflammation, and respiratory infection!

→ I want to start breathing easier with SmartVest.

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.

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 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

Ready to talk with a Respiratory Therapist about your symptoms and if SmartVest could be an option for you? Call one of our RTs directly at 1.855.528.5690 or fill out our Request a Call form.


[1] American Lung Association. “Learn about COPD.” Retrieved from

[2] National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. “What Is COPD?” Retrieved from

[3] COPD Foundation. “What Is COPD Fact Sheet.” Retrieved from

[4] National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. “What Is COPD?” Retrieved from

[5] Mayo Clinic. “COPD: Symptoms & Causes.” Retrieved from

[6] Mayo Clinic. “COPD: Symptoms & Causes.” Retrieved from

[7] Mayo Clinic. “COPD: Diagnosis & Treatment.” Retrieved from

[8] American Lung Association. “How Is COPD Diagnosed?” Retrieved from

[9] Pokorney J. Comparison of Oscillatory Trough Pressure Generated by High Frequency Chest Wall Oscillation (HFCWO) Systems: A White Paper.

[10] 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.

[11] 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.