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Mary Ella’s Weekly Message
June 10, 2013
Coping with COPD
Many people decide to quit smoking when they are diagnosed with a lung disease such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. If this is true for you, you have come to the right place to receive support and tools to help you become smokefree. It's never too late to quit and you will receive immediate physical benefits from quitting smoking. Check out our list of Benefits of Quitting. If you have COPD, quitting smoking now is the single most important thing you can do to keep your COPD from getting worse.
On June 5, the American Lung Association released the newest report in our Disparities in Lung Health Series, "Taking Her Breath Away: The Rise of COPD in Women." This report examines the burden of COPD among women. Although COPD was long considered a disease of white men, the rate of COPD among women has climbed steadily in recent years. We looked at the reasons for this increase and what can be done to reduce the burden of COPD. Read the full COPD report or read a shorter summary version.
There are more than 14 million people in the United States diagnosed with COPD. There are steps you can take to cope with the lifestyle changes that this disease brings. Learning about COPD and the treatment for it can help you feel more in control. There are American Lung Association Better Breathers Clubs that meet throughout the country for adults with lung disease. Find a Better Breathers Club near you on our website or call the American Lung Association at 1-800 LUNG-USA (586-4872).
The American Lung Association's Lung HelpLine is a great resource as well. You can have an online chat with a registered nurse or respiratory therapist or call 1-800-LUNG USA (586-4872). The line is open daily from 8:00 a.m. until midnight, Eastern Time, and the service is free.
- Constant coughing, sometimes called "smoker's cough
- Shortness of breath while doing everyday activities
- Producing a lot of sputum (also called phlegm or mucus)
- Feeling like you can't breathe or take a deep breath
Diagnosis involves taking a breathing test called spirometry. If you have some of the symptoms above, ask your physician about getting a spirometry test. Earlier detection and treatment of COPD means it can be better controlled and the impact on quality of life can be minimized.
If you're quitting and feel an urge to smoke, remember the 4 D's in mind:
- Delay. The urge will pass, whether you smoke or not.
- Deep breathe. Listen to a relaxation exercise.
- Drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated, especially if you live in a part of the country that is undergoing a heat wave (eight, 8-oz. glasses a day).
- Do something else—get up and actually do something to distract yourself.
I’ll see you on the Message Boards! :-) Mary Ella
Don’t forget: If you're in the Premium program and want help fast on the Message Boards, put "HELP NOW" in the subject line of your post. If you're looking to offer help, watch for those, "HELP NOW" posts and alert your other FFS Online buddies to offer some assistance as well.