Aspirus Medical Monday: COPD Awareness Month

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UPPER PENINSULA, Mich. (WJMN) – November is National COPD Awareness Month. Tia Oliver, a registered respiratory therapist at Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital, shares what you should know about COPD and how to prevent getting it.

First, she explains what COPD is.

“COPD is an abbreviation for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This is not something that you’re born with, it’s most commonly caused by smoking cigarettes. So, people who get COPD, they suffer from chronic inflammation of the airways. So this inflammation is not curable. It never goes away and it does progress over time, often leading to death. The CDC actually says that there are hundreds of thousands of Americans every year that die from COPD,” said Oliver.

What are some symptoms of COPD?

“The most common symptom of COPD is shortness of breath, typically as exertion. But as the disease progresses, people experience shortness of breath even at rest. They also experience flare-ups, so acute increased inflammation which requires treatment.”

Why is it important to bring awareness to COPD?

“I want to raise awareness for COPD for two main reasons, one because it is preventable and honestly it is something that you should want to prevent. And second, for people who already have COPD, there is a lot a medical care team can provide a lot of support that they can provide. There are many medications to help slow down the progression of the disease. They help prevent and manage symptoms.”

To learn more about Aspirus Health’s services for COPD, click here.

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