Respiratory problems are not always easily recognized. Consider, for example, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD), which affects nearly 24 million Americans. Yet, more than half remain undiagnosed and unaware of their condition. COPD is the third leading cause of death in America, and according to the American Lung Association, women are more likely to suffer from the disease than men.
November places special emphasis on the importance of respiratory health and COPD Awareness Month. November 14 is World COPD Day, which encourages prevention, early detection and treatment. Learn more about the causes of COPD, the steps you can take to prevent it, and how pulmonary rehabilitation at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills can help.
What is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)?
Preventable and treatable, COPD is a term that physicians use to refer to two lung diseases, chronic bronchitis and emphysema, which often co-exist. While there is no cure for COPD, early diagnosis increases the ability to prevent and treat it. COPD results in breathing problems due to airflow obstruction. However, COPD does not include asthma or other diseases that obstruct breathing.
How do I know if I am at risk for COPD?
Approximately 85 to 90 percent of COPD deaths are caused by smoking, with female smokers nearly 13 times as likely to die from COPD than women who have never smoked. While smoking is the primary risk factor, other causes include exposure to pollutants, second-hand smoke exposure, and childhood respiratory problems.
Why should I pay attention to COPD Awareness Month?
Women have a much higher incidence rate for COPD, particularly emphysema, according to the American Lung Association. Being aware of your risk factors can also help you to alert any loved ones who might also be at risk.
When should I seek help? Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in South Orange County offers pulmonary rehabilitation programs. To learn more, please call (949) 837-4500.