November is National Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Awareness Month. COPD is an umbrella term used to describe progressive lung diseases including emphysema, and chronic bronchitis and possibly asthma. I would like to take this month to bring Awareness to COPD and the issues facing many of our friends and families.
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 COPD. 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
• Tightness in the chest
The most common cause of COPD is the long-term exposure to lung irritants that damage the lungs and airways. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), in the United States, the most common irritant that causes COPD is smoking. Other examples of lung irritants include air pollution, chemical fumes, dust, and secondhand smoke.
According to the NHLBI, over 16 million Americans suffer from COPD, and several additional millions likely have COPD and do not even know it. Fortunately, people can live for many years with COPD and enjoy life if there is early diagnosis and treatment. Lifestyle changes and treatments are best to help slow the progress of the disease. The goals of COPD treatment are to relieve symptoms, slow the progress of the disease, improve exercise, and improve the ability to stay active, preventing and treating complications, and improve overall health.
This awareness month is important to educate ourselves about COPD. This disease is not curable, but through education and awareness we can protect ourselves and our families from COPD. If you would like to learn more information please visit National Heart, Lung and Blood, Institute, Center for Disease Control and Prevention-COPD, and American Lung Association.
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 [email protected] or at 512-463-0672