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Mary Ella’s Weekly Message
March 14, 2011
Coping with Lung Disease
If you joined FFS Online because your physician has advised you to quit smoking, you’re in the right place! It’s never too late to quit and you will see some immediate physical benefits, even within the first 12 hours. Check out some other benefits on the American Lung Association website.
Many people decide to quit smoking when they are diagnosed with a lung disease like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD. Currently there are about 13 million people in the United States diagnosed with COPD, which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. But studies of lung function indicate that many struggle with COPD symptoms without getting a proper diagnosis. The number of Americans living with COPD may actually be as high as 24 million.
The signs and symptoms of COPD are:
- 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
Getting a diagnosis involves a simple breathing test called Spirometry. If you have some of the symptoms above, ask your physician about getting a Spirometry test. Although there is no cure for COPD, it can be treated to slow the progression of the disease. The earlier COPD is detected and treated, the better it can be controlled in order to minimize the impact on the patient’s quality of life. And the very best step you can take to slow the progression of your disease is to quit smoking!
For an overview about symptoms and treatment of COPD, please read this story on the American Lung Association website. For more detailed information and resources, visit the COPD home page on our site. We have some great resources there for lung disease patients and their loved ones. We’ve also created a new Group in the FFS Online Community that you can join: Living With Chronic Lung Disease. If COPD or another lung disease is impacting your life, take a moment to sign up and help us get the conversation started on the group’s message board.
If you have questions about COPD or any lung disease, consider calling our Lung HelpLine to talk with a nurse or respiratory therapist: 1-800-LUNG-USA or 1-800-548-8252. Our HelpLine counselors are available from 8:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday. Overnight and on weekends, you can access recorded information about many lung health topics.
If your Quit Day is coming up soon, remember to clean out your home, vehicle, desk, garage, etc. and throw out all smoking materials. Don’t underestimate the power of temptation, or the power of support that is available to you on the Message Boards. Give blogging a try. It’s a great way to get out some negative feelings and gain a fresh perspective or to share tips that have helped you along the way.
Now that spring has sprung in many parts of the country, this is a great time to increase your physical activity. It’s a perfect opportunity to get busy in the garden or to set a regular time each day for a brisk walk. Changing your lifestyle by increasing physical activity is one of the best ways you can remain smokefree.
Until next time, 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.