Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, a major cause of death throughout the world, and the third leading cause for disability in the United States. No wonder that when the doctor utters those words, “COPD” or “Emphysema”, for the first time, the individual goes into a state of shock and depression.
Diagnosis of COPD is not necessarily a death sentence! There are options for the COPD patient! The COPD patient can make the difference!
While some very important medical information will be provided through the links referenced, it should be remembered that this is only information and should be used in conjunction with the discussions with your physician. This information should not be used to self-diagnose nor to alter a schedule of treatment. What is this disease? Perhaps in an attempt to stay away from the “E” word (emphysema) it is common practice now for the medical profession to loosely refer to asthmatic bronchitis, chronic bronchitis and emphysema or a combination of these as COPD. Some sources do not include asthma or asthmatic bronchitis but many with emphysema also find that they have an asthma element with their COPD. Emphysema, one of the leading components of COPD, is generally brought on by long term smoking, yet The American Lung Association advises that only about 20 per cent of heavy smokers get emphysema. There are other forms of COPD which are a result of genetics. The most common of which is called Alpha 1 Antitrypsin Deficiency. Alpha 1 can be confirmed with a simple blood test.
COPD is a very serious disease but it is not an immediate death sentence. In fact, because of the nature of the disease, many know that they have it for a number of years before it significantly affects their quality of life and they become concerned that “someone” must do something. However, the degree of acceptance of the affliction and degree to which the COPD patient involves himself or herself in their care will greatly affect the quality of life and ability to cope with the disease.
The following is a list of websites with available information on COPD:
Association For Respiratory Care (AARC)
This site provides a great deal of current information on pulmonary disease. Among their other achievements, they recently earmarked $1 million to fund research that would document the economic and clinical impact of respiratory therapists on positive patient care outcomes.
American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is involved in many projects concerning all lung diseases. Their definitions and fact sheets are well done, but sometimes very matter of fact and clinical. e.g., “There is no cure for emphysema”.
Breathing Space Living Room In excellent lay explanation of COPD. It is sponsored by a drug manufacturer of a pulmonary medicine.
Compilation of Pulmonary Definitions
Ron Peterson’s Home Page Ron is a member of the Second Wind Board of Directors and considered by many to be the guru of exercise. He has written several papers concerning the positive benefits that exercise can have on the effects of COPD.
The family of COPD Support Programs
Emphysema Foundation For Our Right To Survive is a non-profit activist and support group of over 600 members dedicated to direct more research into more effective treatment and hopefully a cure for emphysema and related lung disease. They do not accept or distribute funds.
Fragrance Information Network
Contains extensive information regarding the many fragrances which affect many individuals with COPD. Authored by a RN.
Living With COPD (National Heart Lung and Blood Institute)
Living With COPD (WebMD)
This web site is maintained by WebMD. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with COPD, you probably have many questions. This website contains answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about living with COPD, its symptoms, treatment, and causes.
Living With COPD – Your Nutritional Status
This website is maintained by WebMD. A good workup on the nutritional aspects of COPD
No Air To Go
A compilation of pulmonary terms, abbreviations, acronyms. This is a personal web page which is very well done and provides a great deal of basic information on various lung diseases.
Olivija’s C.O.P.D. Resources
A personal web site by an individual who is listed for lung transplant and is afflicted with COPD. Olivija offers a considerable number of links as well as original material.
The Pulmonary Paper is …”a way for people with chronic lung problems to keep up on the latest news in respiratory care treatments and products”. This is their online site but they also have a periodic newsletter in hard copy for a fee.