November is COPD Awareness Month

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, commonly referred to as COPD, is a serious lung disease that makes it hard for people to breath.  COPD can also be referred to as chronic bronchitis or emphysema. When you have COPD, the airways are partially blocked so it makes it hard to get air in and out of your lungs. COPD can cause serious long term disability and early death. COPD is the 3rd leading cause of death in the US.

Symptoms of COPD are:

A chronic, persistent cough

Increased mucus

Shortness of breath, especially during physical activity


A tight feeling in the chest

Causes of COPD:

Smoking cigarettes

Smoking cigarettes with asthma

Breathing in large amounts of chemicals or fumes



If you smoke and have COPD, the most important thing that you can do is to stop smoking. You will notice an improvement in your breathing quickly. Treatment for COPD:

Bronchodilators (medicines that open your airways)

Corticosteroids (medicines that reduce swelling in the airways)

Pulmonary rehab program


Other things that will help you live a healthier life include:

Get a flu shot every year.

Get the pneumonia shot

Keep your weight normal.

Get some exercise. Check with your doctor about what kind of exercise is best for you.

Pace your activities so that your lungs do not work too hard.

Reduce stress and relax. Get emotional support.

For more information contact the American Lung Association at 1-800-586-4872 or on line at or contact the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute on line at

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