This month, the NHLBI is shining a spotlight on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. Also known as emphysema or chronic bronchitis, COPD limits the breathing of 24 million people in the United States and is one of the leading causes of death. One in five people over the age of 45 has symptoms of this serious lung disease, including shortness of breath during activities that were once easy, wheezing, and a chronic "smoker's" cough.
A new survey shows that more Americans are becoming aware of COPD, but less than half of them know that COPD is treatable. Those who are most at risk—current and former smokers—are less likely to talk to their doctors about symptoms that could indicate they have COPD.
To better inform patients who have been diagnosed with COPD, people who are at high risk of developing the disease, and healthcare providers, the NHLBI created the COPD Learn More Breathe Better® campaign. Its latest program, Country Conquers COPD™, reaches out to at-risk groups—not in the doctor's office, but at country-themed fairs and festivals across the nation. In its first month, Country Conquers COPD has already spread the word about COPD in Nashville and Lexington, N.C., where visitors enjoyed country music concerts, sang and danced, and took complimentary breath tests and pamphlets at the COPD booth for a fun and educational experience.
If you think you or a loved one has COPD, take some time this month to talk to your doctor. With a simple breathing test, you can find out whether you have COPD and start a treatment plan. Together, we can conquer COPD. Remember: Learning more is the first step toward breathing better.
|Grand Ole Opry member and country chart topper Terri Clark entertained the crowd at the Country Conquers COPD event outside the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville in October.|