November is National COPD Awareness Month, and as a homecare agency, we thought we’d share a few resources for the public and for caregivers. According to the National Institute of Health, 16 million people in the United State suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Kentucky has been identified by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention as one of the states with the highest rates of COPD.

How to Reduce Your Risk

Two major risks of COPD are environmental pollution in the air and smoking. It is of course rather difficult to avoid air pollution, but you should monitor the air quality of your area. Many people are exposed to dust and other particles during their work, which can cause health issues down the line. Know your rights in regards to a safe occupational environment, and report unsafe practices to your employer.

Smoking and vaping also contribute to an individual’s risk of COPD. Here are some resources to talk to a loved one about quitting smoking. Our caregivers who work with smokers should keep an eye out for signs that our clients have some difficulty with their lungs. According to the American Lung Association, signs of lung disease include:

  • a chronic cough
  • shortness of breath
  • chronic mucus production
  • coughing up blood
  • chronic chest pain

In conclusion, COPD is a condition that impacts many Americans. Know your risk, and enjoy these educational materials on the disease and its risk factors.