November is National Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Awareness Month. Awareness months are helpful because they bring public attention to issues facing many of our friends and families. COPD is an umbrella term used to describe progressive lung diseases including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and refractory (non-reversible) asthma. This disease is characterized by increasing breathlessness. COPD is a progressive and (currently) incurable disease, but with the right diagnosis and treatment, there are many things you can do to manage your COPD and breathe better. People can live for many years with COPD and enjoy life.

Symptoms of COPD can be different for each person, but common symptoms are:
• Increased shortness of breath
• Frequent coughing (with and without mucus)
• Increased breathlessness
• Wheezing
• Tightness in the chest

Further explanation of these characteristics can be found at COPD Foundation.

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), an estimated 11 million Americans suffer from COPD, and several additional millions likely have COPD and don’t even know it. Last year, the NHLBI implemented the first-ever COPD National Action Plan, a blueprint for a multi-faceted, collaborative fight against the disease. Developed at the request of the United States Congress with input from the broad COPD community, it provides a comprehensive framework for action by those affected by the disease and those who care about reducing its burden. You can view the action at COPD National Action Plan.

If you have questions regarding any of the information mentioned in this week’s article, please do not hesitate to call my Capitol or District Office. Please always feel free to contact my office if you have any questions or issues regarding a Texas state agency, or if you would like to contact my office regarding constituent services. As always, my offices are available at any time to assist with questions, concerns or comments (Capitol Office, 512-463-0672; District Office, 361-949-4603).

– State Representative Todd Hunter, District 32

Rep. Hunter represents Nueces County (Part). He can be contacted at todd.hunter@house.texas.gov or at 512-463-0672