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Smoking Cessation Essential for Preventing COPD
COPD fourth leading cause of death in Kentucky
Bardstown, Ky. (November 8, 2017) – Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD, is a term used to describe a group of progressive lung diseases that make it difficult to breathe. COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Each year, COPD affects 16 million Americans, while millions more do not realize they have it. COPD can lead to long-term disability and dramatically affect a person’s quality of life, which is why Flaget Memorial Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health, is encouraging smoking cessation, to help reduce the risk for developing the disease.
COPD is a term that refers to two lung diseases: chronic bronchitis and emphysema, which frequently exist together, restrict airflow and cause trouble breathing. Uncontrolled asthma over a person’s lifetime can also result in COPD. Symptoms of COPD include chronic cough – known as a smoker’s cough – chronic phlegm production, shortness of breath doing normal activities, wheezing, or not being able to take a deep breath.
Smoking cigarettes is the main cause of COPD, and in Kentucky, one of the leading tobacco producing states, COPD is the fourth leading cause of death, according to the Kentucky Department for Public Health. Environmental factors – like particle dust, secondhand smoke, air pollution, chemical fumes – and genetic predisposition can also lead to COPD. More than 11 percent of people living in Kentucky have COPD, the second highest percentage in the United States, according to the American Lung Association.
While COPD is one of the most common respiratory conditions in adults, the disease is also preventable and treatable. This is why it’s important to take action to help prevent the disease, so it doesn’t lead to additional health problems.
“COPD is often not found until the disease is very advanced, as many people do not know the early warning signs,” said Kevin Moore, MD, family physician, KentuckyOne Health Primary Care Associates. “While there is not a cure for COPD, treatment is available to manage symptoms of the disease and to slow progression. It’s important that all Kentuckians educate themselves about this disease, to help improve their quality of life.”
To help detect COPD, a physician will use a test called spirometry, which can detect the disease before symptoms become severe. This non-invasive breathing test measures the amount of air a person can blow out of the lungs and how fast he or she can blow it out. This test will help the physician determine if a person has COPD and the severity of the disease, as well as how to treat the disease.
“Common treatment is the use of a variety of inhalers to open the airways, decrease mucous production, and treat inflammation of the airways; making it easier to breath," said Dr. Moore. “Additional treatment options include pulmonary rehabilitation, physical activity training and oxygen treatment. Also, patients with COPD need annual flu vaccination and earlier pneumonia vaccination compared to other patients.”
The most important thing a person can do to reduce the risk of developing COPD or to limit debilitating symptoms is to not smoke. For more information on the importance of smoking cessation, visit www.kentuckyonehealth.org/heartcare-cardiology-associates-louisville-your-health-wellness-and-smoking-cessation.
If you are suffering from symptoms of COPD, contact your physician to be tested for the disease. If you do not have a physician, call 502.589.3027 for a provider near you.
About Flaget Memorial Hospital
Flaget Memorial Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health, is located in Bardstown, KY. The 52-bed facility provides care for patients from Nelson, Hardin, Marion, Washington, Spencer, Bullitt and LaRue counties. The award-winning hospital was founded in 1951 by the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. Nationally recognized for orthopedic care, surgical care and inpatient satisfaction, the hospital offers a complete array of services, including cancer care, weight loss surgery, cosmetic care, pain management, general surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, and maternity care. The Cancer Center is proud to be able to provide full support and cancer care to patients through its medical and radiation oncology programs.
About KentuckyOne Health
KentuckyOne Health, one of the largest and most comprehensive health systems in the Commonwealth, includes hospitals, physician groups, clinics, primary care centers, specialty institutes and home health agencies in Kentucky and southern Indiana. KentuckyOne Health is dedicated to bringing wellness, healing and hope to all, including the underserved.