Tag: people

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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