Posts in the Healthy Living Category

Smoking and COPD – We Can Help

January 7th, 2015 | Author: Katelyn Turner

The Centers for Disease Control today reported that close to half of U.S. adults over 40 who live with asthma or COPD still continue to smoke. The information follows a recent CDC report which found that 15 percent of Americans between 40 and 79 years of age suffer from an obstruction of the lungs, such as COPD. The study concluded that 46 percent of adults between the ages of 40 and 79 with COPD currently smoked, with the statistic rising to 55 percent of individuals with “moderate or worse” levels of the disease.

[http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db181.htm]

[http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db181.htm]

Researchers found that rates of smoking for individuals with COPD and similar diseases more than doubled that of people who do not live with such illnesses.

“Cigarette smoking is the most important, but not the only, risk factor for COPD in the United States. The single most important intervention a smoker with COPD can do is to stop smoking. However, COPD often progresses in patients long after they have stopped smoking, and up to 25% of people with evidence of COPD have never smoked. The COPD Foundation continues to pursue better strategies to prevent, treat, and some day, cure, COPD,” said David M. Mannino, M.D., member of the COPD Foundation’s Board of Directors and Professor at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health.

The COPD Foundation is committed to assisting those who live with COPD and their efforts to quit smoking. The Foundation recognizes the various challenges our community members face and offers peer-to-peer support for those who wish to quit. If you live with COPD and would like to speak with someone directly about your options, please call our C.O.P.D. Information Line at 1-866-316-2673, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. EST. You may also visit www.COPD360social.org for online peer support.

For more information about smoking cessation, please visit the COPD Foundation website here.

Read the full CDC report here.

Running for his Father and the COPD Community

January 5th, 2015 | Author: Katelyn Turner

Justin Daniels is a distance runner from Richmond, Indiana who is dedicated to honoring those who live with COPD by racing in all 50 states in 2015. He started his hobby when his father Leonard, 60, was diagnosed with COPD. “His lungs don’t work very well, so I am making it my mission to spread awareness about this disease,” Justin says. “I set up a booth at each event I am running with information that I am able to pass out to anyone wanting to know more about what I am doing. My mom helps pass out the information while I am running my races, but before and after I am at the booth or walking throughout the area asking people if they know someone living with COPD.”

The COPD Foundation caught up Justin to learn more about his efforts:

Q: How long have you been a runner?

A: I started out running while I was in high school as a Junior and Senior where I was a member of the cross country team as well as the track team. I started getting serious about distance running in 2011 wfaces1hen I found out  my dad had COPD. I felt like I needed to do something not only for him but for everyone else living with the disease. I knew there wasn’t much I could really do besides make people more aware of what COPD actually is, as well try and raise money to help find a cure.

Q: How did you get involved in raising awareness for COPD?

A: I feel there are so many people living in the United States alone that know nothing or very little about what COPD is and how they can get treated to live a better life. I have worked at Reid Hospital in Richmond, Indiana for almost 2 years now and I see a lot of COPD patients in the ICU. I feel that with increased education they might be able to avoid a trip to the hospital and could have a better chance at living a more normal life.

Q: When you started your endeavor two years ago, what was your main goal?

A: When I first started doing the marathons 2 years ago, my main goal was to run a marathon in honor of my dad and everyone else living with COPD. After running that first marathon I felt like I couldn’t do another one because of the pain I was in, but after awhile I thought about how my dad and everyone with COPD endure a lot more pain, so I continued.

Q: What are your goals now?

A: My current goal is to run a marathon in all 50 states; I would like to do this as soon as I can. On November 1st, 2014 I completed my 4th marathon – my biggest and toughest race so far. I raced the Chicago marathon on October 12th, 2014 and I wanted to see how I would feel after only taking 2 weeks off. I actually felt really good, so now I know I can run races closer together. I feel running in every state will give me a chance to spread the word and pass out information to as many people as possible –  just in case they have symptoms so they are able to get checked out by their doctor. It also gives me the chance to meet COPD patients that live with the disease on a daily basis. I want the races to give patients hope and reassurance that there is someone out there taking action to give them a voice.

faces2Q: What inspires you to continue racing for COPD awareness?

A: My main inspiration to keep running to bring awareness to COPD is my dad and the millions of people living with COPD each day. My dad and I have a very close relationship with each other. Every other person with COPD has family that care about them as well. I feel this is the least I could do to honor them the best way I can. On days when the weather isn’t perfect or I’m too tired, I look around and think,  “My life’s not so bad,” which then inspires me to get out the door and go.

Q: What advice do you have for others who would like to take similar action?

A: My advice for anyone who would like to take action is to research as much information you can so you have knowledge of what the disease actually is. I also think whatever you choose to do to make people aware, make sure you give it 110% all the time, even when you think it may not be possible. You can achieve anything if you really want to – it just may take more time.

You can find Justin’s “Run for a Cure” Facebook page here.

Alpha-1 Awareness: #AreYou1?

November 24th, 2014 | Author: Katelyn Turner

At least 100,000 Americans live with Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (Alpha-1), but fewer than 10% have been diagnosed. Alpha-1 is the most common known genetic risk factor for emphysema. Are you 1? That is the question the Alpha-1 Foundation is asking YOU for COPD/Alpha-1 Awareness Month.

Take part in the  Alpha-1 activities happening this month!

  • As part of the “I am 1. Are you?” awareness campaign, the Alpha-1 Foundation wants you to record a video of yourself or a loved one and post it on Facebook and/or other social media sites. Make sure to use the hashtag #AreYou1 and include a link to alpha-1foundation.org/awareness.

  • Participate in the Alpha-1 Art Auction! In November 2013, NASCAR drivers showed their artistic side for Alpha-1 Awareness when they created art alongside children living with Alpha-1. Now you have a chance to bid on their creations! Proceeds will benefit the Alpha-1 Foundation’s research programs.

Take a look at the artwork and participate in the auction here.

Spread the word about Alpha-1 by downloading the fact sheets below and sharing with friends and family. Don’t  forget to ask – #AreYou1?

Fact Sheets:

COPD Awareness Month – Still Going Strong

November 20th, 2014 | Author: Katelyn Turner

It has been a busy month for us at the COPD Foundation. As you probably know, November is National COPD/Alpha-1 Awareness Month! How have you been raising awareness of COPD to your friends, family, and community?

We still have more than a week of COPD Awareness Month left! Don’t forget to wear ORANGE, the official color of COPD, and take part in COPD Foundation activities: COPD360ourcommunityonline_AAcard

Use #Tell10 to encourage your friends and family to tell at least 10 people every day about this devastating disease.
#Tell10 people about COPD every day for COPD Awareness Month. Strength in numbers: because we are stronger when we work together.

Pam DeNardo: A Decade of Helping Individuals with COPD

August 11th, 2014 | Author: Fabiana Talbot

This excerpt was drawn from the Spring 2014 issue of the COPD Digest.

When Pam DeNardo was diagnosed with COPD in 1999, there were scant resources available. She had to do her own research—teaching herself about medications, inhalers, and pulmonary rehabilitation, a task she said was daunting and scary without guidance or any references.

“I was terrified. Mpamdenardoy doctor said that at best I had three to five years to live,” DeNardo says. “’Incurable’— that’s all I could think of. Except, I couldn’t die. I was a single mother of two, I had a mother in her 90s who needed me, and a small insurance business that had just turned the corner and was making money. I simply could not be sick, and I could not die.”

Today, DeNardo is one of 35 associates who work on the COPD Foundation’s C.O.P.D. Information Line. When it was created in 2007, they averaged 300 inbound calls every month. Today, the associates field anywhere between 5,000-6,000 contacts each month. DeNardo was one of the driving forces behind the creation of the Information Line.

“Today, patients are still scared. You can hear that when they call the Info Line. The best thing is when I get a call from a newly diagnosed patient, because I can tell them I’ve had the diagnosis for 15 years, and you can hear the relief in their voices,” she says. “The Information Line, to me, is the culmination of everything I believed in.”

phoneIn 2007, she met with Bill Clark, director of outreach programs at the COPD Foundation, and John and Diane Walsh, and together, they recruited patients, set up the toll-free line for support and information, and the Information Line was born.

“The Foundation will continue to grow, and I believe it [a cure] will happen. And I hope to be there. I’m working hard to be there,” DeNardo says.

Read on about Pam’s journey on the COPD Digest website.

National Women’s Health Week–Celebrate the Women in Your Life

May 12th, 2014 | Author: Katelyn Turner

In honor of National Women’s Health Week, we want to celebrate all of the women in our lives, and encourage them to assess their health.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says, “We know that women are often the ones who make sure everyone – everyone else, that is – in our families are cared for. But too often, we put our own health last. women-and-smoking

But the reality is unless you take care of yourself, you cannot really take care of your family. That means eating right, exercising, quitting smoking, and getting the care necessary to stay healthy.”

COPD is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. More than 24 million Americans are living with the disease, and over half of these people don’t even know they have it. That’s because as people grow older, they mistake symptoms of COPD for regular signs of aging.

What are the symptoms? Increased breathlessness, frequent coughing (with and without sputum), wheezing, and tightness in your chest.

For women, COPD has begun to be an increasing problem.

  • 6.7 percent of adult women have COPD, compared to 5.2 percent of men
  • COPD kills more women every year than breast cancer and diabetes combined
  • Women who smoke are 13 times as likely to die from COPD
  • In 2011, there were over 492,000 hospitalizations for women with COPD

These are all reasons why it is important that you talk to your doctor as soon as you notice any of these symptoms. If you think you may be at risk, you can take our 5-question Risk Screener.

E-Cig Poisonings are on the Rise

April 7th, 2014 | Author: Fabiana Talbot

There is a lot of debate surrounding  the use of electronic cigarettes. In 2007, the electronic cigarette or “e-cig” was introduced and has since been celebrated by smokers as a safer alternative to conventional cigarettes. Unlike traditional tobacco, e-cigs vaporize liquid nicotine, which eliminates the inhalation of tar and other carcinogens.

p0403-e-cigarette-poison

(taken from cdc.gov)

Sound like a healthier option? Many say ‘yes,’ but health experts disagree. Officials believe e-cigarettes not only pose serious risks to smokers, but others in their homes as well – particularly children. This week, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)  reported a dramatic increase in e-cig poisonings. According to the report, calls to poison control centers have sky-rocketed from one call in September 2010, to over 200 calls in February 2014.  Approximately half of the calls involved children under 5, and about 40 percent were in adults over 20 years of age.

calls for e-cigarettes have been steadily increasing – from one call in September 2010 to over 200 in February 2014. The study found that calls to poison control centers about e-cigarette exposures were more likely to result in “an adverse health effect” compared to cigarette exposure calls – highlighting the toxic potency of these e-liquids. – See more at: http://www.copdfoundation.org/About-Us/Press-Room/Press-Releases/ID/245/E-Cigarette-Poisoning-Cases-on-the-Rise.aspx#sthash.UnSzufbR.dpuf

Experts hold that these statistics indicate an emerging public health concern caused by a product that is not regulated by the FDA.

“The e-cigarette industry specifically targets children and teens with appealing flavors like cotton candy and gummy bear, and neither these products nor their liquid nicotine refills are currently regulated by the federal government,” American Academy of Pediatrics president James M. Perrin, MD.

Do you think electronic cigarettes should be regulated? Are they generally helpful or harmful? Share with us below.

Shaming and Blaming

March 7th, 2014 | Author: Fabiana Talbot

The dreaded question for individuals living with COPD is “Did you smoke?” So much is insinuated in three simple words, and so many in our community have to withstand the stigma associated with the disease.  All too often, people with COPD are afraid to reach out for help, let alone raise awareness for the disease, because they believe in the end they will be shamed and blamed for smoking.

Smoking does cause 75% of COPD – but did you know that 25% of COPD patients have never smoked? Environmental,

(taken from Pinterest.com)

(taken from Pinterest.com)

occupational, and genetic factors also cause respiratory diseases.  If you did or do smoke however, know that you are not alone. If you feel stigmatized for your condition, just reach out to our COPD community on Facebook or call the C.O.P.D. Information Line at 1 866 316 2673. What is important now is not to look at the past with regret and shame, but to the future with strength and hope. No one has the right to take that away from you.

This leads me to a piece of news that broke this week. Online news site, Mail Online, reported that late actress Shirley Temple Black was, “…a secret smoker who died from lung disease.” When she passed last month, her family did not disclose COPD as the cause of death, perhaps out of fear that she might be stigmatized for smoking.

This is just one example of an individual who had to live in silence about a disease that is the third leading cause of death in the United States. We hope those living with COPD today will come out of the shadows and help educate others about the nature of the disease. We believe the “shame and blame” culture will decline over time with greater awareness and education about the disease.

We are proud of all of our community members who speak out about COPD, and have the courage to stand up to those who may judge and marginalize us.

Have you been “shamed and blamed” for developing COPD? How did you deal with it? Please share in the comments section.

 

Leonard Nimoy of Star Trek Diagnosed with COPD

February 10th, 2014 | Author: Fabiana Talbot

Leonard Nimoy, famously known for his role on Star Trek as Spock, announced last week that he has COPD.

“I quit smoking 30 yrs ago. Not soon enough. I have COPD. Grandpa says, quit now!! LLAP,” Mr. Nimoy tweeted.  His announcement sparked a  conversation about COPD online with many asking, “but how do you have lung disease if you quit so long ago?”

It is so important to share with our loved ones that even if a smoker has quit, s/he can still develop COPD. Lung damage is irreversible and progressive (gets worse over time) and often goes undetected and undiagnosed until 50% of lung function has been lost.

12 million Americans have COPD and don’t know it.

That said, progression slows dramatically the earlier someone quits smoking. Tell your friends and family to quit today!

May Mr. Nimoy LLAP (live long and prosper) and continue to educate others to raise awareness about COPD.

 nim1

min2

50th Anniversary Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking

January 17th, 2014 | Author: Fabiana Talbot

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the first Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health.  A press conference was held at the White House this morning to commemorate decades of anti-smoking efforts with the release of the 50th Anniversary Surgeon General’s Report: The Health Consequences of Smoking. Keynote speakers included Dept. of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, HHS Assistant Secretary Dr. Howard Koh, and the U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Boris Lushniak.

Past successes, current challenges, and alarming statistics were presented during this morning’s conference. Sec. Sebelius reflected on past campaigns, namely Tips from Former Smokers, and congratulated advocates for their achievements in shifting societal norms and enlightening Americans about the dangers of smoking. Since 1964, the anti-tobacco community has succeeded in driving smoking out of airplanes, many restaurants, colleges, etc., and the Tips campaign alone reported helping over 100,000 individuals quit smoking. Despite these accomplishments, Sec. Sebelius acknowledged that the U.S. is still very much addicted to tobacco.

In his speech, Dr. Lushniak repeated the phrase, “Enough is enough!” and stated that since the first Surgeon General’s report in1964:

  • Over 20 million premature deaths could be attributed to cigarette smoking.
  • Smoking has been linked to diseases of nearly all organs, to diminished health status, &  harm to the fetus.
  • Smoking risks for women have risen sharply & women are now as likely to die from smoking as men.
  • Compared to men, women are as likely to die from smoking & more die from chronic lung disease.
  • Smoking is now known to cause 13 different types of cancer. In 1964 officials could only be sure about lung cancer in men.
  • The smoking rate is down to 18%, from 42%.
  • Smokers have a greater risk of developing lung cancer, even though they smoke fewer cigarettes.
  • The annual costs to the nation from smoking are approaching $300 billion.

So much has been done over the past 50 years, but there is still much work to do to make the next generation tobacco-free. Please visit the Surgeon General’s website for more information.

This video features Tips ad participants Terrie Hall, Brandon Carmichael and Roosevelt Smith, discussing their experiences during and after the Tips campaign.