National COPD Awareness Month: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) refers to several progressive lung diseases, including asthma, emphysema, and more. COPD affects roughly 15 million Americans, half of which are unaware of their illness.
This November, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute are sponsoring National COPD Awareness Month. The annual event helps educate people about the dangers of lung disease and encourages participants to help raise COPD awareness by implementing outreach programs. This year’s campaign is COPD Learn More Breathe Better.
While COPD can be inherited genetically, environmental factors play a role in the development of lung disease. Making healthy lifestyle choices can significantly reduce your risk of COPD. Here are three ways to keep your lungs healthy:
National COPD Awareness Month- Lung Health Tip #1: Avoid Smoking
Smoking is a major cause of COPD. According to the American Lung Association, 85 to 90 percent of all COPD deaths can be prevented by not smoking. If you are a smoker, talk with your doctor to discuss how you can quit. If you do not smoke, be sure to avoid secondhand smoke, as it can also cause COPD. Shockingly, secondhand smoke accounts for 10 percent of smoking-related deaths.
National COPD Awareness Month- Lung Health Tip #2: Avoid Air Pollution
It is important to regularly monitor your local air quality to avoid hazardous pollution. You can visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s webpage to see the quality of air in your community. Avoid cooking over unventilated wood stoves and wear protective face masks to avoid inhaling any hazardous fumes.
National COPD Awareness Month- Lung Health Tip #3: Avoid Health Hazards
Certain workers are at an increased risk of developing COPD. Coal miners and construction workers work with hazardous chemicals and debris, such as asbestos. Always be sure to talk with your project manager to know the threat of your work area. Also, wear protective gear to shield yourself from any dangerous debris.