Today is COPD Awareness Day!
Why is that important?
Approximately 12 million adults in the U.S. are diagnosed with COPD, and 120,000 die from it each year. An additional 12 million adults in the U.S. are thought to have undiagnosed COPD.
Think about it - clearly half of the people who right now have COPD do not know about it! That to me is shocking!
What if it were diabetes or heart disease or cancer? Would you not be appalled?
COPD is an incurable, progressive lung disease that contributes to other comorbidities such as lung cancer, osteoporosis, asthma, arthritis, sleep apnea, depression, anxiety, dementia and more....
But if you are one of those people who has COPD and doesn't know it yet - time and ignorance are not on your side! Awareness is!
Once diagnosed you will find out that you do have a lot of choice about how your COPD goes. You can get medications, vaccinations, and natural treatments; you can learn hygiene, nutrition, and exercise methods that will help make your disease manageable or you can climb into your recliner until the day an ambulance picks you up and takes you to the hospital - not one, not two but several times a Year. You can play with your children and grandchildren - run, jump, skip, and have fun - or you can watch them play from a chair or a park bench with your Oxygen turned up to 5 liters.
Yes, I said children! Did you know that in 2000, 3.9% of the U.S. population between the ages of 25–44 were living with COPD? Before I learned about COPD I thought of old people - surely not young adults! I thought of heavy smokers - but the truth is that one Sickerette can trigger COPD for life! I also thought that smoking is the cause - and generally speaking it is the most important cause but 15% of folks with COPD do not and have not smoked! Asthma, pollution, dust, poor air quality, and secondhand smoke are other significant risk factors.
That's important to know! About 25% of people diagnosed with COPD are asthmatics who have experienced lung damage from their asthma before they got COPD.
Then there is a genetic cause for COPD. alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. Only about 100,000 people in the United States have it, but it makes the lungs (and liver) incredibly sensitive to damage and can result in an under-30 diagnosis of COPD (even in otherwise healthy nonsmokers). Imagine if you are an unknowing smoker!
So today think about it. Do you have asthma and a history of smoking? Have you ever heard of or been tested for A1AT? And then I repeat, if you have smoked more than 100 Sickerettes in your lifetime please get a Spirometry Test!
Knowledge is Power - Decision is the Ultimate Power!
If you smoke please quit! If you have Quit - protect your Quit as if your Life depends on it - because it does! Smoking Cessation is the only known treatment that will slow the progression of COPD!