What is COPD?
COPD, or chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease, is an insidious, progressive disease that causes
airflow blockage and breathing related problems, making it hard
to breathe. "Insidious" means developing so gradually as to be well
established before becoming apparent and "progressive" means the
disease gets worse over time.
Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, is an umbrella term used to describe
a group of progressive lung diseases. The two diseases recognized by
the major organizations (NHLBI - National Heart Lung Blood Institute,
American Thoracic Society, ERS - European Respiratory Society, and
GOLD - Global
Initiative for Obstructive
Lung Disease) and included within the term are emphysema and chronic
bronchitis. Many other organizations include refractory (non-reversible) or
chronic asthma, some forms of bronchiectasis and several other
diseases which are characterized by progressive obstruction of the
airflow into and out of the lungs and increased shortness of breath
under this term.
This insidious disease is often
diagnosed until long after some lung capacity is already lost. It is possible to have early stages of the disease
without knowing it. In the United States, it is estimated that 24
million people have COPD, yet one half (approximately 12 million)
are still undiagnosed and do not know they have it. Though almost
always preventable, and almost always treatable, it is usually not
COPD is NOT a death
In past years surprising little had actually been
learned about COPD. Studies and research were very
limited. Now, however, things are improving with some very
encouraging studies, clinical trials and research under way for
medications and treatment protocols. Research into such areas as genetics,
new medications and treatment protocols promise greatly improved
diagnostics and treatments for the future. These will greatly
improve the quality of life for the patient. A possible cure is
no longer considered impossible. Now there also is a very active
COPD awareness program underway which started in 2007. This program
is designed to educate everyone about this disease, with major emphasis on
early diagnosis. For more information, see sidebar links (Latest
News) to the NHLBI's: Learn More, Breathe Better® program.
There is a very long way to go, however.
The good news is that COPD, though considered a chronic,
debilitating and sometimes fatal disease, can be managed, controlled
and slowed down. We can all lead good and long lives, with a great
deal of quality and joy left even after the diagnosis. If you or a loved
one has been diagnosed with COPD, general well-being and prognosis
can improve greatly with proper treatment and care.
The most important factors contributing to a longer and healthier
lifestyle include, but are not limited to:
Early testing and
A physician who is knowledgeable
in COPD and
is proactive in disease management,
preferably a pulmonary specialist
Following your medication
Healthy eating habits
Stopping smoking -
The single, most beneficial factor if you are still smoking.
A personal exercise program
approved by your physician
Education about any and all
aspects of the disease and its related problems
Infection prevention to limit
exacerbations which can lead to additional lung damage
You are not alone!
It is estimated that there are
currently 12 to13 million people in the United States diagnosed
It is estimated
that an additional 12-14 million or more are still
undiagnosed, as they are in the beginning stages
and have few or minimal symptoms
and have not sought health care yet.
It is estimated by
WHO (the World Health Organization) that close to 210 million
cases could possibly be found worldwide.
Some estimates put this number as high as 400-600 million
Here at COPD
International, you will not be alone. This site has been
organized and staffed by individuals who have been diagnosed with COPD, caregivers and other
individuals interested in COPD. Designed to help you learn to
control this disease instead of letting it control you, it's primary purpose is to provide a
complete resource for patients, caregivers and family, through interactive support and education.
Here you will find:
main Chat Room is open to
all 24 hours a day. People are coming and going all the time.
Drop in and visit. It's a great source of support and
Our four communities, each have
a Chat Room, as well as a Message Board. Here you can find
people with similar experiences -- COPD patients, caregivers,
teenagers and kids facing the fears, issues and problems
associated with dealing on a daily basis. If your
community has no one there when you visit, please drop into
the main Chat Room.
message boards throughout
the Web site are there for you to ask for and get help and
guidance. Your experiences can help others there as well.
List servers, which provide
round the clock information and support by e-mail.
Our "Quit Smoking Now" Program
(QSN) to help you kick the habit and provides the ongoing
support needed to help you stay smoke-free for as long as you
Guidance for your
"Keep in Touch" Program
(KIT) is a 3 part program which provides a place for those
living alone to check in on a regular basis; a way for us to
find those who we have lost contact with; and a pen pal
program to encourage the creation of COPD related friendships
around the world.
"Loving Thoughts" Program
provides a special message center for sending caring messages
during tough times.
Don't need a Loving Thoughts
page but want to send a cheerful note or special
anonymous greeting, check out our Cheer Bear program.
Our "Welcome Wagon" Program,
which is staffed by community members who are committed to
supporting new arriving members by the sharing of information
and providing Web site assistance and guidance.
An ever-expanding reference
area complete with a searchable Library. Included in the
library are hundreds of articles on COPD and related subjects
ranging from the
COPD Survival Guide to the personal experiences of
patients and caregivers.
latest news, articles and
information at our COPD Info blog.
A manual and checklist with information and
guidance for starting a COPD support
group in your local community.
A weekly emailed
keep you informed on our Web site developments and the latest news.
the years, we have lost many of our friends and family to this
Some visited using only a nickname, while others remained
totally unknown, preferring to read, learn and seek comfort in
the knowledge that they were not alone.
The tribute area is
dedicated to all COPD Patients, known and unknown, who have
gone on before us.
Traveling, or away from your PC? Many of the
features of the this full website are now available to you
on smartphones and smaller tablets including the Kindle, using
our COPD mobile app!
Larger tablets and PCs have the option of accessing information
through this full website link as well as the mobile link.
On the mobile site, you can access most of the important
information and support areas of this main website. This
includes extensive information about the disease as well as
access to the library where you can search though over 500 files which have been organized in an easy to find format. There
also is access to the latest news and our blog. You
can keep in
touch with other patients and caregivers through the mobile
site's link to
this main website's message boards There also is information on joining
our chats using your mobile device.
No App to
Simply enter COPD-International.com on your smartphone, tablet
or use the link located at the top left of the pages.
The full url, if needed, is
You can learn to control
instead of letting it control you!
Tips for Coping
For Oxygen Users
From the Inside
Tips on indoor allergies.
November 17, 2013