Many people assume that the longer they live, the less capable they are of improving various aspects of their lives. For example, some people take for granted that you can’t learn a musical instrument as an adult. These people are often told throughout their lives by their parents or friends that if you want to learn something complex, you have to start when you’re younger. It’s also assumed that you’ll stop progressing very early on in your life.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one of the diseases with the greatest financial burdens worldwide and within the United States. Studies have shown that the average annual COPD-related expenditure is around $4,147. And while 51% of these costs are covered by Medicare according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that still leaves roughly $2,000 a year that COPD patients need to spend out-of-pocket. Combine this with the cost of aging and limited retirement funds and it’s not hard to see why COPD is such a major financial burden for so many people.
For many people fighting chronic lung diseases like COPD, the hardest battles are not the physical ones, but the ones that happen inside the mind. Coping with a disease that disrupts your breathing—a basic life function—is far from easy, and it takes a major mental toll on many people with the disease.
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.
Life is filled with unpredictability. Whether it’s a change to our daily routine or a life-changing event like a COPD diagnosis, staying on our toes is often the best way to maintain stability in our lives. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to deal with these changes. Sometimes, it can feel like you’re trying to play keep up rather than dealing with problems quickly and effectively as soon as they arise.
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.