The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Do You Know COPD?
November is COPD Awareness Month, and World COPD Day is November 18, 2015. How well do you know COPD? Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD is a chronic inflammatory disease that obstructs airflow in the lungs. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the two most common diseases contributing to COPD. Symptoms include coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, and increased mucus production. COPD is usually caused by smoking; however, long-term exposure to irritating chemicals and pollutants are also causes. COPD is more common than you might think. The American Lung Association states that COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States.
According to the COPD in America 2015 online survey, insights were gathered from over 1,700 people currently diagnosed with COPD, Emphysema or Chronic Bronchitis. The goal of the survey was to give an accurate picture of the impact of COPD to bring about greater awareness.
Of people surveyed, 78% were female, 22% were male, and the majority were over the age of 50. 64% of respondents claimed they wished they had known more about how COPD would affect them. 36% wanted information about how to better handle the stigma associated with having COPD, and 17% sought information about support groups for their emotional well-being.
A staggering 87% of people surveyed indicated they couldn’t do as much as they did before the COPD diagnosis, and 67% mentioned they had difficulty completing daily chores and participating in strenuous activities. More than half of the people had to cut back on their favorite hobbies and social activities.
Now having to cope with their diagnosis, 65% of people surveyed voiced fear about the long term complications of COPD, 67% expressed feelings of blame and regret, and 78% wished they had done things differently. 29% said they feel alone and 21% stated they felt as though others resent them because they are unable to do as much. In addition, nearly one third of people surveyed think that others don’t believe the severity of their symptoms.
Sleep and rest became more difficult for 89% of people surveyed with 79% stating they experience frequent fatigue. One in three of those surveyed report having a caregiver, usually their spouse or child. For emotional support and to assist them with daily tasks, the majority of people surveyed relied on their caregivers, but 19% wished they had more help from family and friends.
43% of those surveyed reported experiencing financial strains. The survey showed that 22% of people were employed but only 15% were employed full-time. Of the employed people, 21% said they had to limit their work schedules. Given the impact of COPD, 28% of people were on disability and 40% were completely retired. Over one third of the people surveyed wished more resources were available in their communities.
Join us on Twitter @LungInstitute with the #COPDAwarenessMonth to engage in the movement to bring greater awareness to COPD and treatment options.