40 THE QUEENS COURIER • WELLNESS • JANUARY 16, 2020 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
Are your lungs trying to tell you something?
Do you get short of breath doing daily
activities? Feel like you’re unable to take
deep breaths? Are you constantly coughing
If you said yes to any of these questions,
you may be experiencing symptoms
of chronic obstructive pulmonary
disease (COPD), a serious, potentially
devastating lung disease also known
as chronic bronchitis or emphysema.
Th ough it’s easy to think of these symptoms
as just part of “getting older’’ or as
problems that come with allergies, oft en
they are not.
Nearly 16 million people in the United
States are currently living with a COPD
diagnosis, and millions more don’t know
they have it. COPD is the fourth leading
cause of death in the United States and a
leading cause of disability.
In people with COPD, the airways
that carry air in and out of the lungs
become partially blocked, which makes
it increasingly diffi cult to breathe. If left
undetected, the disease can greatly aff ect
your quality of life and your ability to
complete even ordinary daily activities.
COPD oft en occurs in people who
have a history of smoking or long-term
exposure to secondhand smoke and
other lung irritants, such as air pollution,
chemical fumes, and dusts from the environment
or workplace. Th e chances of
getting COPD also increases signifi cantly
in people who have alpha-1 antitrypsin
defi ciency, a rare genetic condition.
While COPD develops slowly and
worsens over time, its symptoms can
be treated and its progression can be
slowed, which is why early detection and
treatment are so important. If you are
noticing any issues with your breathing,
talk to your health care provider about
getting tested for COPD. Th e sooner you
get a diagnosis, the sooner treatment can
begin. Your provider will design a treatment
plan to help address your symptoms
and improve your lung function
and quality of life.
Th e key to keeping COPD at bay - or
preventing it from getting worse - is to
understand and recognize the signs and
symptoms early and discuss them with
your health care provider. Th e sooner
this happens, the sooner you can get back
to doing the things you love.
Th rough educational eff orts like the
Learn More Breathe Better program
the National Heart, Lung, and
Blood Institute shares valuable information
about the symptoms of COPD, as
well as how to diagnose and treat it. With
these tools, those living with COPD can
eff ectively manage the disease, and those
who have symptoms can fi nd the support
and assistance they need.
— Courtesy of Family Features