On average, we take 16 breaths a minute, 960 an hour, 23,040 a day and more than eight million a year. Most of us breathe without thinking. But for those living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), every single breath can be a challenge – every second, every minute, every day.
November 16, 2016 marks the 14th Annual World COPD Day, and this year’s theme is Breathe in the Knowledge.
“Education and awareness are critical, because many people don’t even realize they have COPD, until one day, they are struggling to breathe,” said Dr. John Reid, a respirologist at Island Health. “Understanding the causes, recognizing the symptoms and then knowing where to go for support are all key to improved self-management of this terrible disease.”
Simply described, COPD is an obstruction of the airways, a mixture of chronic (obstructive) bronchitis and emphysema, most often the result of long-time cigarette smoking. Symptoms include: shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing and excess mucus in the lungs.
According to the World Health Organization, COPD is the fourth leading cause of death worldwide, killing nearly three million people each year.
As part of this year’s World COPD Day, Island Health is holding an education session at the Hillside Senior’s Centre (details below). And, throughout the year, the BC Lung Association offers Better Breathers Clubs, where individuals and their families learn tips to better cope with COPD, while getting support from others who share in the struggle to breathe.
“People living with COPD need to know they are not alone,” Dr. Reid said. “Struggling to breathe can be very scary, but we hope through raising awareness, enhancing knowledge and ongoing support, hopefully we can help people breathe just a little easier.”
COPD Public Education Session
Wednesday, November 16
9:30 to 11:50 a.m.
Hillside Seniors Health Centre
1454 Hillside Avenue
To register, call 250.370.5641 and press 2
For more information about COPD, visit http://www.viha.ca/respiratory_health/patient_info.htm
To arrange an interview with a person living with COPD, as well as an Island Health respirologist and physiotherapist exercise specialist, please call 250.370.8908.
Media Relations Manager