5 Minute Coffee Break - COPD Awareness Month

Published at 01 November, 2022 08:03.

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November is known as COPD Awareness month. The first world COPD awareness day was held in 2002. Over 50 countries take place in raising awareness and organising events and activities. The theme for this year’s World COPD Day is “YOUR LUNGS FOR LIFE”.

We are born with one set of lungs. Keeping our lungs healthy is fundamental to our health for now and in the future. Let`s talk it over with a coffee and see what you can do to help prevent yourself developing this debilitating disease and what you can do to help yourself if you already have it.

Healthy lungs are made up of millions of tiny air sacs called Alveoli with elastic walls. These are where oxygen is taken into the body and where carbon dioxide is expelled. Cigarette smoke can damage the air sac walls. The sacs can break apart and can create holes in the lungs.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is the name for a group of lung conditions that cause breathing difficulties, persistent cough, and frequent chest infections, which include emphysema and chronic bronchitis. These breathing difficulties worsen over time and your quality of life can be affected. There is treatment available which may help with symptoms, but the best way is preventative in the first place as the disease is permanent once you develop it. The main cause of COPD is smoking, affecting every nine in ten cases!

The likelihood of developing COPD increases the more you smoke and the longer you have smoked. Stopping smoking can prevent further damage to your lungs. The lining of your lungs and your airways can be damaged with your cigarette smoke. We can also be affected by other people`s cigarette smoke, which we call passive smoking or second-hand smoking. Smoking is not the only cause, but it is the main cause. Other causes may be exposure to fumes, dust, and chemicals at work. Some people have a genetic tendency to develop COPD, effecting around 1/100 people. If you have a close relative with COPD and you smoke, then you are more likely to develop the disease yourself.

The most important thing you can do is stop smoking! This is the most effective way to stop your symptoms getting worse. Keeping active can also help, as can eating well and maintaining a healthy weight. Looking after your mental wellbeing is also essential. Asthma+ Lung UK can be of great support both physically and emotionally and can help you support yourself if you have been diagnosed with COPD. They can help you form a support plan that is right for you and help you learn how to control your breathing. Singing has been known to be beneficial too, especially when you join up with other people who have lung conditions like you do. Have a look at  singing for lung healthThe NHS website also has lots of information on COPD from recognising symptoms, how to treat your symptoms and managing your symptoms for a better quality of life

 If you are supporting someone with COPD it is important to look after yourself as well.

Quit smoking now with Yorkshire Smokefree`s support and start looking after “YOUR LUNGS FOR LIFE”.