This blog post was written by John W. Walsh, president and co-founder of the COPD Foundation. Read more…
Posts Tagged early diagnosis
Melissa Baugh knows the importance of an early COPD diagnosis.
She was diagnosed August 23rd of last year, at the age of 32.
“I’ve always had severe asthma and I thought I was just having another asthma attack, but I wasn’t responding to the treatment,” Baugh says.
After an almost week-long stay in the hospital, she was diagnosed with COPD and bronchitis.
“I was shocked by it [the diagnosis]. I’m a nurse, and I take care of mostly geriatric patients, [some of whom have COPD]. I’ve never seen someone my age with this diagnosis,” she says.
Baugh, who lives in Peoria, AZ, says she’s in the process of learning as much as she can about the disease. She is a never-smoker, and says she wants to make people her age aware that it can happen to them, too.
“I want to have this information for my family. My son has asthma right now,” she says. “It doesn’t matter how old you are, there are a lot of things out there [that can contribute to COPD]. It’s not just something to worry about when you’re a lot older. If you’re 30 or 80 you can get this, and it impacts your life a lot.”
Baugh says some days she has trouble keeping up with her children (pictured) – Kristopher, 6, and Kirra, 9.
She says she experiences challenges on a daily basis, noticing changes in her routine and lifestyle.
“The constant not being able to breathe, the simple things are harder. Trying to teach my son how to ride a bike, I’m coughing up a lung after 10-13 minutes. I literally can’t breathe,” she says. “On a high pollution day, I could even be just watching a movie and not be able to breathe.”
There are other factors that Baugh thinks she can attribute to her COPD.
“I am asthmatic and I already have lung problems, and being a nurse I’m exposed to all different kinds of things,” she says.
Despite her COPD, Baugh says she tries to keep it under control as much as possible.
“I want to keep up with my kids. It breaks my heart to go from being active to not even being able to breathe,” she says. “I just want younger people to realize that it can happen to them. At our age we tend to think we’re invincible but [I want to remind them] of the importance of early diagnosis.”