COPD Awareness Month

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung disease that worsens over time, but is often preventable and treatable. COPD causes shortness of breath by damaging the lungs and can affect every physical aspect of life, including simple exercise and sleep. COPD can also put individuals at greater risk for heart attacks, strokes and lung cancer, according to the American Lung Association.

Sufferers of COPD can experience a host of symptoms before being diagnosed, like fatigue, wheezing, chronic coughing and frequent respiratory infections. Once diagnosed, patients are treated with medication, surgery or some form of rehabilitation. The American Lung Association says the best way to prevent COPD is by not smoking or quitting immediately. Smoking is the largest contributor to COPD, causing 85-90 percent of cases.

For more information on COPD, its associated risks and potential treatment options, visit lung.org.