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two people one with a sign and another with a mega phone raising awareness for COPD

National COPD Awareness

COPD is the third leading cause of death, yet so many are not familiar with COPD. Cancer is now #2, following behind heart disease. Even with COPD being the #3 cause of death, so many people are unaware of COPD. Often, they don’t hear about it until they themselves are diagnosed, or until a loved one is.

Educating others

This is the time that we can help to educate others. We can hold an event for COPD or do fundraising to help organizations such as the COPD Foundation or here at Then we can help research, educate, or donate to those who are working toward research or even finding a cure for COPD. As many people know, COPD can affect an unknown person like myself, or it can affect celebrities, such as Leonard Nimoy, Johnny Carson, and Lonnie Anderson who have died from COPD.

Bringing attention to COPD

Those who are bringing attention to COPD are Danica Patrick in the Drive4COPD campaign, Jim Belushi, and Justin Daniels who often runs for COPD, to name a few. We are seeing more speak out against COPD which is so important. Even here with our page, we are using our platform to reach out to others to teach, educate, and support others as well.

Millions don’t know they have COPD

According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: “Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD, is a leading cause of death in the United States, affecting 16 million Americans and millions more who do not know they have it.” COPD can stifle a person’s ability to breathe, lead to long-term disability, and dramatically affect his or her quality of life.

COPD National Action Plan

The COPD National Action Plan is the first-ever blueprint for a multi-faceted, unified fight against the disease. Developed at the request of Congress with input from the broad COPD community, it provides a comprehensive framework for action by those affected by the disease and those who care about reducing its burden.”1 The COPD National Action Plan has five key goals:

  1. Empower people with COPD, their families, and caregivers to recognize and reduce the burden of COPD.
  2. Improve the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and management of COPD by improving the quality of care delivered across the healthcare continuum.
  3. Collect, analyze, report and disseminate COPD-related public health data that drive change and track progress.
  4. Increase and sustain research to better understand the prevention, pathogenesis, diagnosis, treatment, and management of COPD.
  5. Translate national policy, educational and program recommendations into research and public healthcare actions.

What is COPD?

COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. COPD is an umbrella term that describes emphysema, bronchitis, and even refractory asthma. This type of asthma is non-reversible. COPD is characterized by increased breathlessness.3

  • Emphysema makes it hard to breathe as it destructs the alveoli and/or air sacs. COPD is not curable. However, there are treatments that can help to slow the progression of your disease. When you have emphysema you may experience shortness of breath with activity. Causes of emphysema are smoking, second-hand smoke, genetics, pollution, chemicals, scented products, burning wood, and even the forest fires that affect some of our COPD family.
  • Chronic bronchitis often causes coughing and excess phlegm. When the bronchial tubes get inflamed, they produce mucus, which causes shortness of breath and wheezing. Coughing can be triggered, which might bring up mucus. It’s so important that you don’t swallow this mucus as it can make your bronchitis worse. Do spit it out, preferably into a tissue which is most sanitary. Your chronic bronchitis can bring on chest tightness and fever. If you smoke, stop. Smoking is the main cause of chronic bronchitis. Other causes are pollution and chemicals. Even dust can cause this.
  • Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency is a genetic and inherited form of COPD. A person might find symptoms when they are in their 20s through 40s. Some might be young as babies and others in their 50s and beyond. It’s so important to test for Alpha-1 as it can damage the liver and lungs. Some doctors will have you test for Alpha-1 when you are tested for COPD, some might not. Do feel free to ask your doctor. If you have other relatives with COPD, they too should be tested for Alpha-1. You can also get a kit from the COPD Foundation.

Every day more and more people are diagnosed with this disease. National COPD Awareness Month is always in November. World COPD Day in 2019 will be held on November 21. Orange is the National COPD color. If you are thinking it was gold, you’re right it used to be. Some say that it’s gray. I usually see grey with those who sell COPD jewelry. However, orange is the designated National COPD color.

Let’s raise our voices this COPD Awareness Month! Let’s bring this disease out of the shadows and educate others about COPD!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.



  • rhonda61hobo
    1 week ago

    I’ve have Emphysema and still do. Lung cancer,and end 4 th stage COPD.And live with my hubby and brother in law and my kids have family of there own. They all have no idea of what we go through. All pain loneliness,cooking working driving shopping. And some act like you have never done anything before.Or they forget.I can’t even get myself a haircut. My hair is long now. It was never this long. No one knows where I’m coming from or where I live. I wish I could make them sit down and watch a films about COPD.

  • Janet Plank moderator author
    1 week ago

    Rhonda61hobo, my heart goes out to you. You’re right, people don’t understand what we go through, many anyway.
    Unless they see your struggle, they often don’t know what you are going through. They may not understand or maybe aren’t trying to do so. Some may be afraid, some may feel guilt and some may not know how they feel.

    I emailed info to different family members and even left printed materials laying on end tables in my moms house and more.

    Here is a letter that I wrote here a couple of years ago. A few family members saw it and said it made sense.

    We are here for you and your family.
    Janet (author/site moderator)

  • cher1215
    2 weeks ago

    There was an incorrect statement in the above article. Swallowing sputum does not cause bronchitis to become worse. It goes into your stomach and is eliminated by your digestive tract. Just wanted to clarify.


  • Barbara Moore moderator
    1 week ago

    I have heard arguments both ways. It seems that doctors can’t even agree on this issue.
    Thank you for commenting Barbara Moore (site moderator)

  • Janet Plank moderator author
    6 days ago

    Barbara, that is so true!

  • Janet Plank moderator author
    2 weeks ago

    Thank you Cheryl
    Janet (author/site moderator)

  • KevinDavitt
    2 weeks ago

    Janet – well said! I think Graham Nash of Crosby, Stills & Nash fame is also a COPD advocate.

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    2 weeks ago

    Hi Kevin – you are 100% correct – he sure is!!

    It’s always good to see celebrities getting involved for health care causes.

    Leon (site moderator)

  • Janet Plank moderator author
    2 weeks ago

    Thanks for that tidbit Kevin. It’s nice to know those who stand for COPD.

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