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November is COPD Awareness Month

November is National COPD Awareness Month – Learn More, Breath Better

“November is National COPD Awareness Month. Sponsored by the US COPD Coalition, the observance is a time for organizations and communities across the country to increase the overall awareness of COPD. COPD Learn More Breathe Better®, the title of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s national awareness and education campaign, has again been adopted as the theme for this year’s National COPD Awareness Month.” – National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NIH)

The U.S. COPD Coalition (USCC) is a nonprofit organization made up of patient organizations, health professional organizations, individuals, and government agencies who work together in a unified manner to promote the interests of individuals affected by COPD.  Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States. The disease kills more than 120,000 Americans each year—that’s 1 death every 4 minutes—and causes serious, long-term disability.

COPD – Learn More Breathe Better, is the title of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s national awareness and education campaign. It has been adopted as the theme for this year’s National COPD Awareness Month. According to the NHLBI, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States. The disease kills more than 120,000 Americans each year—that’s 1 death every 4 minutes—and causes serious, long-term disability – and the number of people with COPD is increasing. More than 12 million people are diagnosed with COPD and an additional 12 million likely have the disease and don’t even know it. Here are 4 things YOU can do to live a longer, more active life.

What you need to know about COPD

The public should be aware of the risk factors:

  • Recognize the symptoms
  • Ask your doctor or health care provider about a simple breathing test
  • Follow treatment advice

According to NHLBI, there are 3 “Rules of 4” that the general public should be aware of when dealing with COPD:

Rule 1 – COPD may be present if you …

  1. have shortness of breath, chronic cough, or have trouble performing simple daily tasks like climbing stairs, grocery shopping, or laundry;
  2. are over age 40 and currently smoke or used to smoke;
  3. have worked or lived around chemicals or fumes;
  4. have certain genetic conditions.

Rule 2 – Things you can do if you are at risk for COPD:

  1. Talk with your healthcare provider about shortness of breath, chronic cough, or decline in activity level.
  2. Get a simple breathing test, also known as spirometry.
  3. Quit smoking. Need help? Talk to your doctor or health care provider.
  4. Avoid pollutants or fumes that can irritate your lungs.

Rule 3 – Things you can do to help manage COPD:

  1. Take medication as directed by your doctor or health care provider.
  2. Enroll in a pulmonary rehabilitation program.
  3. Avoid pollutants or fumes that can irritate your lungs.
  4. Get flu and pneumonia shots as directed by your doctor or health care provider.

Outreach Materials to promote COPD Awareness

As part of their educational offerings, NHLBI has created outreach materials designed to assist the health care professional (and public) in promoting COPD awareness, effective diagnosis and disease-state management. Five of those are linked below:

  • Outreach Toolkit*   (1.1 Mb) This outreach toolkit provides resources to help promote National COPD Awareness Month and includes: tips for posting on social media, sample social media posts, shareable images, best practices for reaching out to media outlets, and general COPD talking points.
  • Smart Steps Fact Sheet *   (1.2 Mb) A new fact sheet about small first steps to take to raise awareness and diagnosis of COPD.
  • Better Talk Means Better Treatment*   (324 kb) An infographic with data on some of the communication barriers between providers and patients when it comes to talking about COPD.
  • Get the Most from Your Office Visit*   (250 kb) A fact sheet for those who think they may be suffering from COPD to help them make the most of their time with their health care provider.
  • Talking with Your Patients about COPD*   (275 kb) A fact sheet geared toward health care providers to help them start the conversation about COPD with their patients.

COPD can be effectively managed if diagnosed correctly and treated properly. COPD Awareness Month strives to discuss elements of effective diagnosis and treatment through educating both the medical and general publics about the disease.

An Understanding of COPD for the Sleep Medicine Professional

SleepEdu.org offers the above titled course for Sleep Medicine professionals.  This course shall enable the learner to:  Define COPD, Understand the incidence and prevalence of COPD, Explain the characteristics of healthy lung function, Know the causes of COPD, Recognize the signs and symptoms of COPD, Identify the methods of diagnosis of COPD, Identify the treatments for COPD, Understand the complications of COPD and Understand options to manage COPD. This course is approved by BRPT, AARC, AAST and CSRT for 1.0 Credit Hour.

See more information about this course: 

  • Course Approved by the BRPT for CSTE credits (sleep medicine)
  • Course Approved by the AARC for CRCE credits (respiratory care) 
  • Course Approved by the AAST for CEC credits (sleep medicine) 
  • Course Approved by the CSRT  for CPD  credits (respiratory therapy – Canada)

Other courses that discuss issues relating to COPD patients:

  • Infection Prevention and Control in Sleep Testing Facilities – Aapproved by BRPT, AARC, CSRT
  • Overlap Syndrome (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease & Obstructive Sleep Apnea) – Approved by BRPT, AARC, AAST, CSRT
  • CPAP and Oxygen – Matching Systems to Patients Needs – Approved by BRPT, AARC, AAST, CSRT
  • See our online store for more information on each course.