November 20, 2013

Wright State Physicians is encouraging COPD conversation between patients and providers during national COPD Awareness Month

DAYTON—Wright State Physicians joins the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s (NHLBI’s) COPD Learn More Breathe Better® campaign in observance of National COPD Awareness Month this November.

COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is a serious lung disease that over time makes it difficult to breathe. Also known as emphysema and chronic bronchitis, the disease develops slowly and worsens over time — causing many to dismiss symptoms and delay seeking diagnosis and treatment until COPD is in its late stages.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7.1 percent of Ohio residents have been diagnosed with COPD. Now the third leading cause of death in the United States, COPD is estimated to affect 24 million people nationwide, yet as many as half remain undiagnosed.

“We often see symptoms of COPD, such as a chronic cough or shortness of breath, mistaken as a normal sign of aging or being out of shape. That is why this November, during National COPD Awareness Month, Wright State Physicians is raising awareness of COPD,” said Glen Solomon, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine and Wright State Physicians. “We are encouraging individuals who may be at risk to talk to their health care provider.”

Many people who suffer from COPD may visit their doctor regularly but do not mention the symptoms. They don’t think it matters or they forget they even have the symptoms. Raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of COPD is critical to getting patients and providers talking in the exam room and ultimately to facilitating earlier diagnosis and treatment.

Symptoms of COPD include shortness of breath, chronic coughing or wheezing, producing excess sputum, or feeling unable to take a deep breath. COPD most often occurs in people age 40 and over with a history of smoking, either current or former smokers. However, as many as one in six people with COPD has never smoked. Long-term environmental exposure to things that can irritate your lungs as well as certain genetic conditions can also play a role.

Wright State Physicians is a member of the Learn More Breathe Better campaign’s Breathe Better Network and is working to help people who suffer from COPD understand that with proper diagnosis and treatment they can breathe easier and enjoy an improved quality of life.

For more information about National COPD Awareness Month activities taking place across the country visit the COPD Learn More Breathe Better campaign at: http://COPD.nhlbi.nih.gov.

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