If you’re living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), you’re already aware of the impact the condition can have on your life — but chances are strong that other people in your orbit don’t know as much as they could about the disease. That’s why it’s important to raise awareness for the condition — particularly in November, which is COPD Awareness Month.
It can be hard when your friends and family don’t know what you’re going through. It can also feel difficult to say no to loved ones who don’t understand your situation, because you might worry about how your relationships will be affected.
Raising awareness about COPD is important so your friends, family, and acquaintances can better understand how to support you.
In COPD, damage to the lungs makes it difficult to breathe and take in enough oxygen. The damage caused by COPD is irreversible. In early stages, COPD symptoms can be managed, and disease progress can be slowed. In later stages of the disease, as damage progresses, symptoms become more severe and harder to manage.
COPD is a collective term referring to progressive lung disease. The most common types of COPD are chronic bronchitis and emphysema. COPD also includes refractory asthma, bronchiectasis, and alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency (alpha-1).
COPD cannot be cured, but the progression of the disease can be slowed with treatment. Smoking cessation and pulmonary rehabilitation can improve symptoms and help slow progression.
After you’re armed with information about COPD, you can share it with others. The fastest and least expensive way for this kind of advocacy is through social media. You can post information about COPD, share details about the condition, and join communities of other people who are also working to raise awareness about COPD.
You can share this infographic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help raise awareness about COPD. You can also check out these graphics and other resources from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
To ensure your messages on social media reach as many people as possible, consider using an appropriate COPD-related hashtag, like #COPDAwareness, #BreatheBetter, or #COPDMonth. This way, your posts will be seen by more people who have the same interests, and they’re more likely to share and comment.
“I changed my Facebook profile to orange for COPD awareness month,” shared one MyCOPDTeam member.
Social media helps raise awareness for the condition, and it also allows other people with COPD to realize they aren’t alone. Joining a COPD community on social media, such as MyCOPDTeam, can also help you connect with others.
Another way to raise awareness about COPD is to participate in an activity dedicated to the cause. You can walk or run for COPD, play bingo, host a silent auction or fundraiser, or even create a unique event that works for your interests. You can help other people understand more about COPD while having fun and raising money for the cause.
If you are able to, you can also donate to the American Lung Association to support COPD research and advocacy around chronic lung diseases.
On MyCOPDTeam, more than 113,000 people living with COPD come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories with others who understand life with the condition.
Share your COPD journey in the comments below, or start a conversation by posting on your Activities page.