Most people don’t put a lot of thought into the way that they get around. As humans, we learn to walk from a very young age and we use our basic motor skills all the time. So, for most people, it’s difficult to imagine being in a situation where these basic functions are impaired. However, for someone with COPD, problems with mobility, balance, and coordination can be a daily struggle. Healthy, functioning lungs are essential for physical exertion, no matter how little it may be.
November is COPD awareness month, a time to come together and educate people of all backgrounds about the global impact of chronic bronchitis and emphysema. COPD awareness month is marked by an orange ribbon and can be observed in a number of different ways. Despite being the third leading cause of death in the United States, COPD suffers from a severe lack of awareness. According to a Health Union survey, only about 38 percent of patients were aware what COPD was or what its risk factors were before being diagnosed.
From the novel coronavirus to devastating wildfires, 2020 has been a challenging year for us all. But for people with chronic respiratory illnesses like COPD or asthma, this year has been the ultimate test. The good news is that, by following all COVID-19 safety precautions stated by the World Health Organization (WHO) and by checking the air quality index (AQI) before leaving the house, many COPD patients have adjusted nicely to a new way of life.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an umbrella term used to define two different types of lung disease: chronic bronchitis and emphysema. The former is a condition that impairs the bronchioles, the airway tubes that lead into the lungs. The latter affects the tiny air sacs in the lungs called the alveoli. These are responsible for the transfer of oxygen and carbon dioxide to and from the bloodstream. Both chronic bronchitis and emphysema are called “obstructive” diseases because they make it more difficult for the patient to expel air from the lungs, thus leading to a buildup of CO2 in the blood.