Tag: COPD

April 23, 2018
COPD_Cigarette_ResarchStudy_MethuenMA

If you or a loved one struggle with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), take comfort in the fact that you are not alone! Contrary to popular belief, COPD is more than just a smoker’s cough, it is a life-threatening disease that interferes with breathing. There are an estimated 64 million people who live with COPD.

The most common cause of COPD is tobacco smoke through tobacco use or second-hand smoke. Warning signs for COPD are frequently dismissed and, usually, people think that the reason they are short of breath is due to “just getting older.”

Living Life with COPD

Living Life with COPD

Common COPD Symptoms:

  • shortness of breath (often the first sign)
  • coughing
  • wheezing
  • having a tight feeling your chest
  • feeling winded going up the stairs
  • frequently needing to catch your breath.

People with COPD are more likely to have frequent colds, recurring bouts of the flu, or pneumonia and all of these can cause shortness of breath, coughing, and other symptoms. Shortness of breath and coughing can also be a sign of asthma which is why women with COPD are more likely than men to be misdiagnosed with asthma.

In the late 1960’s, tobacco companies heavily targeted women, resulting in an increase of women who started smoking and COPD now affects men and women almost equally because of increased tobacco use among women. Women are more likely to have lung damage from cigarette smoke than men are because women’s lungs are smaller and higher estrogen levels tend to worsen lung disease. Women are often misdiagnosed because COPD has been thought of as a man’s disease.

 

 

People are often diagnosed with COPD between age 50 and 60 when symptoms are so obvious that they can no longer be ignored, but COPD actually can begin to develop around age 40.

To find out if a patient has COPD, a doctor will have a patient breathe into a tube hooked up to a spirometer which measures how much air the patient exhales. More primary care doctors use this simple method to test anyone who is at risk for COPD, even if they don’t have symptoms.

COPD is the 5th biggest killer worldwide and is estimated to kill over 250 people worldwide. Although there is no cure for COPD, it can be found early and steps can be taken to help manage the disease. With medications, oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation and social support, many people diagnosed with COPD are able to live long lives.

Enjoying Life with COPD

Enjoying Life with COPD

How to Get Involved: 

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with COPD, a medical research study may be an option. ActivMed is currently seeking participants for several current and upcoming studies. Qualified candidates who participate will receive study-related care at no cost and receive compensation for travel. To learn more and see if you or someone you love may qualify for a study, click HERE.

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March 1, 2018

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an inflammatory lung disease that makes it hard to breathe. It is a progressive disease which means it gets worse over time. Symptoms include wheezing, shortness of breath, and chronic cough. COPD is caused by long-term exposure to irritants that damage the lungs, the frontrunner being cigarette smoke. Substances like air pollution, dust, and chemical fumes can also be causes.

Historically, COPD has been considered a disease contained to white men. This is because they started smoking earlier and tended to smoke at much higher rates than other groups. Although, this stigma is changing and shocking statistics from the American Lung Association support this change. The ALA estimates that there are 7 million women diagnosed with COPD and even more living with symptoms that are undiagnosed. Since the 1980s the number of women whose lives have been lost as a result of COPD has quadrupled. So why are females becoming increasingly diagnosed?

Women are more genetically prone to developing COPD than men, and they are likely to experience more intense symptoms. A woman’s body is different than a man’s in that women have narrower airways and smaller lungs, making irritants more toxic when inhaled.

Women are now 37% more likely to develop COPD than their male counterparts. Many women began smoking in the 1970s and 1980s and COPD symptoms generally take 20-30 years to develop. Many experts believe that this influx is due to marketing done by tobacco companies.

So, what can women do? Stop smoking, today. According to the CDC, after just two hours of not smoking your heart rate and blood pressure should return to almost completely normal levels. Between one and nine months after quitting smoking, your lungs dramatically begin to repair themselves. After 10 years, your risk of lung cancer, throat cancer, and other major organs decreases by approximately half that of a traditional smoker.

If you’ve been diagnosed with COPD, you’re not out of options. If you or a loved one is currently struggling to manage symptoms associated with COPD, ActivMed is enrolling in studies for those seeking new treatment options. Qualified candidates who participate will receive study-related care at no cost and receive compensation for travel. To learn more and see how you or someone you love may qualify for a study at our Portsmouth, NH location CLICK HERE or at our Methuen, MA location by CLICKING HERE.

Our blog provides general information about health and related subjects. This content should not be interpreted as medical advice.

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January 11, 2018

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a term used to describe a group of chronic lung diseases that cause symptoms like shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing and tightness in the chest. Chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and refractory asthma are all part of the COPD family.

COPD symptoms typically don’t appear until substantial lung damage has occurred and will continue to worsen over time. People with COPD are likely to experience exacerbations, or flare-ups, which cause symptoms to be much worse than what they are on a typical daily basis. Being aware of some common COPD triggers can help you better manage this disease and lessen the risk of flare-ups.

  1. Cigarette smoke- While cigarette smoking is the leading cause of COPD, secondhand smoke is just as dangerous. It’s one of the most common triggers for an exacerbation. For COPD sufferers, it’s important to steer clear of cigarettes.
  2. Other types of smoke- Burning a fire in your fireplace or cooking with a wood-burning stove can cause problems for those with COPD. They can both cause indoor air pollution, which can be a lung irritant.
  3. Dust- Dust can irritate airways and trigger a flare-up. Keeping your living space clean and clutter-free and dusting and vacuuming often can help.
  4. Strong scents- Candles, perfumes, and room sprays and be overwhelming and trigger a reaction in some people with COPD.
  5. Temperature extremes- Extreme heat or cold may be a trigger for some individuals. Staying comfortable indoors is important on days with extreme weather.
  6. Outdoor air pollution- Small particles in pollution can be inhaled and cause inflammation in the airways. Check local air quality reports and stay inside on days when ozone exposure is high.

Taking steps to avoid triggers is key when it comes to staying healthy with COPD. If you or someone you love is struggling with COPD, ActivMed currently has enrolling studies for those seeking new treatment options. Qualified candidates who participate will receive study-related care at no cost and receive compensation for travel. To learn more and see how you or someone you love may qualify for a COPD study in Methuen, click HERE. To apply for a COPD study in Portsmouth, NH, click HERE.

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