|COPD: Are You Winded?
USA Weekend Magazine, March 26, 2006
by Susan T. Lennon
A bit longer version with a bit more info for readers ...
SOB got you down? Shortness of breath (SOB) is the hallmark of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), an umbrella term that encompasses chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and asthmatic bronchitis. About 16 million Americans carry a COPD diagnosis – and 16 million more have it but don’t know it yet, according to E. Neil Schachter, MD, author of Life and Breath: Preventing, Treating and Reversing Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (Broadway, 2003).,
COPD, primarily caused by cigarette smoking, can creep up on you during middle age. If it’s increasingly hard to keep up with people your own age; you’re winded by activities that used to be a breeze; you take longer to get over a cough or cold – and feel poorly even after it’s over, ask your doctor for “spirometry” – the “Six Second Test That Can Save Your Life.”
Blow into this machine, and it will spit out numbers that tell whether you have COPD. The earlier it’s discovered, the better off you’ll be.
- don’t smoke or quit if you do – it’s never too late.
- minimize exposure to allergens
- avoid second-hand smoke
- “rescue” medications (open the airways)
- “controller” medications (anti-inflammatories that reduce exacerbations)
- new medications on the horizon will address hereditary component