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COPD Awareness Month

November is National COPD Awareness Month, and a great opportunity to help educate your patients about Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. According to the American Lung Association, an estimated 15.3 million Americans suffer from COPD, and several additional millions likely have COPD and do not even know it. Early diagnosis and treatment can help people with COPD improve their quality of life and health. COPD is an umbrella term for both emphysema and chronic bronchitis and is caused mainly from smoking.

Is it possible to prevent COPD?

The best way to prevent COPD is to not smoke cigarettes. If someone is already a smoker, it is important to quit smoking. People who have COPD and quit smoking usually have marked reduction in the progression of the disease.

How can I tell if I have COPD?

COPD is diagnosed with a simple breathing test called spirometry, which can detect COPD before symptoms present. The hallmark of COPD is that the air leaves the lung slower than normal during a forced expiration.

How is COPD treated?

Smoking cessation, immunization against influenza and pneumonia, and the use of various bronchodilator medications are effective treatments. In advanced stages, oxygen may be required, and in some cases, lung transplantation or surgical removal of localized emphysema may be employed.