COPD… What is it and could you have it?

24 million Americans have COPD, but 12 million do not know that they have it. Are you one of the missing millions?

Sestron Clinical Research is currently conducting a trial for people with moderate to severe COPD.  I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to bring some awareness to this subject.

COPD– stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. It is a disease that progressively gets worse over time, making it difficult to breathe. It can cause coughing that produces mucus, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and other symptoms.

Smoking cigarettes is the leading cause of COPD. Other irritants such as air pollution, chemical fumes, or dust may also contribute to COPD.

Early detection is the key with this type of disease, since quitting smoking can greatly help reduce the problems associated with COPD.  Stress is another trigger that has been found to worsen the symptoms of COPDStress management skills are a great tool to help both your mind and body relax .

Below I am providing a personal story of a woman with COPD

When I quit smoking back on Jan. 16, 2005, I was using oxygen 24/7. I needed to take breathing treatments every four hours and was watching the clock for the next treatment. I was on 20 different medications, and up until five years prior, I had smoked two packs of cigarettes a day for 40 years. I coughed constantly and had a magnificent wheeze going most of the time. I was only 57 years old.

Before I quit, my smoker’s cough was diagnosed as stage III COPD (there are four stages). COPD covers conditions such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis. It is a progressive condition and will never go away once you have it.

I couldn’t walk to the mailbox. When I went to the market or Target or Walmart, I had to use one of those motorized carts. I couldn’t even unload all the groceries when I got home, only the perishables.

And then I quit smoking and immediately expected all these wonderful improvements. But it didn’t happen. I became frustrated, but I still kept at it.

Three months after I quit, I became ill with a lung infection that was resistant to several antibiotics. It took more than five months and three hospitalizations to get rid of it.

To be honest, if I had been smoking, I doubt that I would have survived the infection. During one of those hospital visits, I was also diagnosed with the beginning of congestive heart failure (CHF) and told that it was caused by my lung disease. Apparently, they go hand in hand. (Since that time, I have seen a cardiologist and I no longer have CHF).

Truthfully, I thought I was going to die soon and I had my lawyer draw up my living trust and will. I even wrote out what songs I wanted played at my memorial service. I had some heart-to-heart talks with my wonderful family, too. They were so afraid that they were going to lose me. I wasn’t depressed or morbid. I’m just one of those people who function better if I’ve got things arranged and organized. It gave me peace of mind.

And then, I decided to control this condition instead of having it control me!

I found a new personal doctor and a new lung doctor. I asked the doctor to cut out some of my medications and he cut them down to only nine — from 20.

And I didn’t smoke!

I researched heart disease on the Internet and signed up for the American Heart Association newsletter. I also subscribe to the American Lung Association newsletter. I began eating a heart-healthy diet and started a pulmonary rehabilitation class at my local hospital.

And I don’t smoke!

My lung volume (FEV1) has increased from 38 percent to 43 percent of the normal predicted value. At pulmonary rehab, I was able to exercise at a steady pace for 12 continuous minutes without a drop in my oxygen and I needed no supplementaloxygen. I no longer need any supplemental oxygen.

And I can walk to the mailbox again and shop without the motorized carts!

I can sing again! And I love to whistle! I can sing again! And I love to whistle!

And I don’t smoke!

I may not be able to ever get rid of this disease — but trust me, I’ve sure slowed it down. I plan to live every day of my life now!

I just hope that those of you who are struggling or playing around with quitting will finally realize that smoking is doing nothing but killing you, cell by cell. I hope you quit before you get sick with cancer or heart disease or lung disease.

All you have is now. It will determine tomorrow.

By “GrammaCC” | Medically reviewed by Kevin O. Hwang, MD, MPH

Read the article on: EveryDayHealth

You can see why early detection is so important!

Please take this 5 question risk screener — it takes less than a minute to find out if you are at risk for COPD. – at: http://www.copdfoundation.org/Screener.aspx#sthash.8ORTCX8I.dpuf

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