New COPD Information

Taking Her Breath Away: The Rise of COPD in Women
A new report from the American Lung Association, released on June 5, 2013, examines the burden of COPD among women. Access the report by clicking the link above, and note Women In Government's work featured on page 18 of the report.

Women In Government & COPD Screening
Think you have COPD? DRIVE4COPD is a multi-year public health initiative, created to promote the screening of millions of people who may be at risk for COPD. They have created a five-question screener test that will help individuals struggling to identify if  they are at risk for COPD. Follow the link below, or pass it along to your constuients, to access the screening test.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, referred to as COPD, describes diseases related to blocked air flow and shortness of breath, including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and non-reversible asthma. COPD is caused by the inhalation of pollutants, which is most often caused through smoking.

12 million Americans currently suffer with COPD, and that number will only increase as our population continues to age. In the United States COPD is the third leading cause of death. Without managing this disease, COPD will continue to cost the U.S. millions of dollars, often due to hospitalizations. These hospitalizations can be prevented through better diagnosis and management practices.

COPD can be easily diagnosed with a simple, non-invasive test called spirometry, and this test can even detect the presence of COPD even before one starts showing symptoms. The symptoms of COPD include breathlessness, chronic coughing, tightness in the chest, and wheezing. Current or past smokers should always get tested for COPD, and anyone experiencing these symptoms that are chronic or get worse quickly should talk to their doctor about getting tested. The COPD Foundation emphasizes the fact that individuals who are developing COPD may not show symptoms until the disease is well-developed. It is important for current or former smokers, or anyone who has been exposed to harmful lung irritants, to ask their doctors about a spirometry test. This easy test will measure how well one’s lungs are working, and will easily see if anything is problematic. Without testing, symptoms left untreated or misdiagnosed may cause them to quickly worsen rather than if they were treated with proper medication and therapy. With a proper diagnosis and treatment plan, however, symptoms can be controlled and the progress of the disease can be delayed.

The best way to prevent COPD is to quit smoking and to stay away from harmful pollutants such as chemicals or second hand smoke. There is no cure for COPD or any way to reverse the damage done to one’s lungs, but this disease can often be prevented.

Legislators can play an influential role in the battle against COPD, ranging from awareness campaigns to physician education initiatives and funding research. Supporting public health surveillance initiatives can also provide states with the information they need to better understand how COPD affects their populations. This toolkit provides more information about COPD, its costs, and sample legislation to provide a springboard for additional action.

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Need help quitting? Or would like to help a family member/friend quit? Follow the link to to find an Online Guide to Quitting

Resource links:

American Association for Cancer Research

American Cancer Society

American Lung Association

Women Against Lung Cancer

Legislation for COPD