As COPD Awareness Month continues through November, the Lung Health Institute wants to take time to recognize World COPD Day. This year, World COPD Day 2015 will be Wednesday, Nov. 18.
What is World COPD Day?
World COPD Day is an event organized by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Diseases (GOLD) in collaboration with COPD patient groups and health care professionals across the world. The goal is to raise awareness of COPD and improve care across the world. Traditionally, World COPD Day is held on the third Wednesday of November. The first World COPD Day was held in 2002. Since then, 50 countries worldwide joined together, making this one of the most important COPD Awareness days of the year.
For those who don’t already know, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive form of lung disease ranging from mild to severe. COPD encompasses emphysema and chronic bronchitis. COPD is usually caused by smoking; however, long-term exposure to irritating chemicals and pollutants are also causes. Some of the symptoms include shortness of breath, a constant “smokers cough”, sleep apnea and wheezing. COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States. An estimated 15 million Americans report that they have been diagnosed with COPD. In addition, more than 50 percent of adults with low pulmonary function were not aware they had COPD, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This year’s theme for World COPD Day is “It’s Not Too Late” referring to how it’s never too late to improve people’s respiratory health or to seek treatment for COPD. No matter which stage of COPD someone is in, the sooner a treatment plan can be created by the patient’s primary care physician or pulmonologist, the better it will be for managing symptoms.
How do I get involved?
There are many ways to get involved in World COPD Day. If this is the first time you’re learning about World COPD Day, then the simplest way to get involved is to educate your friends, family, coworkers and community about the details of the disease. Share your stories on social media and encourage people who smoke to stop as soon as possible.
If you are part of a COPD patient support group, you can organize events to raise awareness such as concerts, awareness walks, education workshops, create posters or billboards, and reach out to local media outlets to inform them of your efforts.
If you are a healthcare provider, on World COPD Day, you can host open houses and offer free COPD screenings, arrange for prominent doctors to be interviewed by local media outlets, and host workshops educating people on the causes of COPD and other lung diseases.
Join us on Twitter @LungInstitute with the #COPDAwarenessMonth to engage in the movement to bring greater awareness to COPD and treatment options.