November is National COPD Awareness Month and I'm taking this one last time in November to share more information on this chronic progressive incurable smoking related illness.You may remember me stating that 12 million US residents have been diagnosed with COPD. WELL - that number has gone up to 15 million! AND half of all those who have COPD have yet to be diagnosed! That's 6% of our entire population! Here's an article with the latest statistics:
What is COPD, you ask?
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a combination of lung illnesses including but not limited to asthma, chronic bronchitis and emphysema - the most common smoking related combination. Some of the most common symptoms you may notice in yourself or others are frequent shortness of breath, chronic cough, wheezing and excessive phlegm production. Take a look at things you do every day - like going up and down the steps, walking to the mail box, or shopping. Are these things more difficult than they used to be because you find yourself having to catch your breath? This could be COPD. You may be like me and say, "Oh, that's just a little smoker's cough!" or "Yea, I'm getting older and slowing down! Sometimes I just go too fast for my own good!" Keep in mind that sickerettes have ingredients purposely added to their products to hide the "smoker's cough!" That's why when you quit smoking, you often cough more than ever before for the first few weeks or longer! A lingering cough well after quitting smoking should definitely be checked out! In fact, ALL smokers and EXers should be tested for COPD! [especially minorities, women and young people!] The youngest person I've know (online) was Stage III at 22 years old!!!!
When you go to your doctor, tell him/her that you want a Spirometry Test! Do not take no for an answer! A spirometry test is a simple non-invasive breathing test that is a good diagnostic tool for COPD. The equipment most likely is sitting right there in your doctor's office. The test is very affordable and the results are instantaneous!
It's important that a person who has COPD get diagnosed early because they will then have many more options for protecting their lungs and health and with lifestyle adjustments living a long, full, quality life! I can tell you from EXperience that even Stage II can either be debilitating or completely normal depending on the decisions that a patient makes! But at least you have a choice!!!!
So IF YOU SMOKE - QUIT SMOKING TODAY!!!!
IF YOU ARE QUIT - PROTECT YOUR QUIT as if your LIFE depends on it ....
BECAUSE IT DOES!