Helping Those with COPD Breathe Easier

Helping Those with COPD Breathe Easier

The American Lung Association’s Enhancing Care for Texans with Asthma – funded by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas’ Healthy Kids Healthy Families Initiative – is helping adults with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) breathe easier. 

COPD is an umbrella term for chronic lung diseases that get worse over time, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis. 

COPD can progress very slowly.  Some people may have it and not know that their shortness of breath is not just a result of getting older or being out of shape, so they don't mention this to their doctors.  As a result, many patients with COPD are diagnosed when they are already in the moderate to severe range, rather than earlier stages.  Those individuals living with undiagnosed COPD could get treatment to greatly improve their shortness of breath and quality of life. 

Meet Roger

Roger thought being short of breath was part of getting older.  Climbing a set of stairs was hard and he had to stop at the top to catch his breath.  Sometimes, Roger would cough repeatedly while having his morning coffee. 

Roger mentioned his ongoing shortness of breath to his physician.  His physician, in partnership with the American Lung Association’s Enhancing Care for Texans with COPD program, had just incorporated a COPD screening questionnaire into her practice.  After confirming Roger was high-risk for COPD, he had a pulmonary function test to establish the diagnosis.  This test was done right in Roger’s doctor office because clinic staff had attended the American Lung Association’s recent training course.

After developing a written COPD management plan to guide Roger on his new medications, the physician recommended that Roger and his wife attend the Lung Force EXPO, sponsored by the American Lung Association and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas.  Roger spent the day with other Texans with COPD learning how to manage his COPD symptoms, how and when to use his medication, how to be active with his newly diagnosed chronic disease, nutrition ideas for people with lung disease, and how to adjust their home’s environment to improve COPD symptoms. 

It takes knowledge and skills to live with a chronic disease like COPD.  However, through his physician’s office and Enhancing Care for Texans with COPD, Roger has the community resources that he needs. 

Take two minutes now and determine if you are at risk for COPD using this simple online quiz.  Your doctor can further provide a breathing test, called spirometry, to confirm if you have COPD. You can also call the American Lung Association’s HelpLine at 1-800-LUNG-USA.