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Productive Conversations Between Primary Care Providers and Patients Pave the Way for Long-Term Lung Health

November 30, 2023

MIAMI & NEW YORK, (Nov. 30, 2023) - When it comes to diagnosing, managing, and treating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), primary care is crucial. The COPD Foundation recommends early detection, open communication with a primary care provider, and adherence to treatment plans to fight this progressive lung disease.

COPD is a health crisis that affects more than an estimated 250 million people and is the third leading cause of death worldwide. It encompasses conditions like chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Risk factors for the disease include smoking tobacco, genetics, air pollution, occupational exposures, and early life factors like frequent lung infections. Despite its prevalence, few know the signs and symptoms of COPD early in their lung health journey. The COPD Foundation outlines the following steps to empower COPD patients and initiate long-term lung health.

  • Recognize the symptoms.
    • Early warning signs of COPD such as shortness of breath and chronic cough are often mistaken for symptoms of flu or allergies. However, if symptoms persist over time, it is best to start a conversation with a primary care provider. The COPD Foundation also provides a free COPD risk screener.
  • Discuss it with a primary care provider.
    • If there is a suspicion of COPD symptoms, the COPD Foundation recommends discussing concerns with a primary care provider early and often. The conversation should include medical history, lifestyle, and other environmental risk factors. An open conversation can lead to early diagnosis and more effective treatment.
  • Follow a treatment plan.
    • Primary care providers can build a tailored treatment plan for patients that may include medication, pulmonary rehab, lifestyle changes, or oxygen therapy. A recommended treatment plan helps patients manage the disease and live well despite the disease burden. Following a treatment plan also helps primary care providers monitor their patients for any change in disease status.

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International Lung Health Conference to Illuminate Advances in COPD Care and Feature a Patient Education Session

November 10, 2023

The eighth annual GOLD International COPD Conference kicks off Monday, Nov. 13

MIAMI & NEW YORK, (Nov. 10, 2023) – The COPD Foundation is proud to partner with the Global Initiative for Lung Health (GOLD) and Temple Lung Center (TLC) to present a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patient session at the eighth annual GOLD International Lung Health Conference on Monday, Nov. 13, 2023 in Philadelphia. The free session is the first for the GOLD Lung Health Conference and will provide medication management tips, exacerbation prevention information, pulmonary rehab resources, and oxygen therapy tips to patients and caregivers. It will be offered in-person and virtually.

The patient session is part of a two-day international educational symposium from November 13-14 that will provide the latest in COPD care and management.

COPD affects more than 30 million Americans and is the third leading cause of death worldwide. Symptoms include breathlessness, fatigue, and chronic cough. The chronic lung disease comprises several conditions, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema, and can be caused by smoking, genetics, early life factors like frequent lung infections, and environmental irritants like smoke or pollution.

This year’s conference will cover the newest developments and breakthroughs in COPD treatment, symptom management, and research while providing health care providers and patients an opportunity to learn from and network with global COPD experts.

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New research supports early screening and intervention for even mild lung disease symptoms to help prevent physical inactivity

November 03, 2023

The COPD Foundation encourages exercise for those with chronic lung disease as part of COPD Awareness Month in November

MIAMI & NEW YORK (Nov. 3, 2023) - New research from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases: Journal of the COPD Foundation reports that individuals with COPD who experience high levels of symptoms are less likely to be physically active. Exercise is proven to be one of the most effective ways to reduce the long-term impact of this widespread chronic lung disease. The study underlines the importance of COPD screening and early diagnosis for symptom intervention and disease management.

COPD affects more than 30 million Americans and is the third leading cause of death worldwide, yet awareness of the disease's symptoms, methods to reduce risk, and disease management remains poor. COPD symptoms include breathlessness, fatigue, and chronic cough. According to research, regular physical activity can help COPD patients breathe better, feel better, and live longer, more fulfilling lives. COPD patients who are inactive increase their risk of exacerbations, hospital admissions, reduced lung function, and poor quality of life.

A recent study published in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases: Journal of the COPD Foundation expanded upon prior research related to exercise and COPD by investigating how a diverse group of Canadians' symptom burdens influenced their physical activity levels. The study found that individuals engaged in less physical activity when they reported a high symptom burden compared to those with milder symptoms. This was true for individuals diagnosed with just “mild” COPD and those previously undiagnosed but experiencing symptoms.

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The COPD Foundation Launches COPD Awareness Month in November

November 01, 2023

Patients, Clinicians, and Supporters Join Forces to Champion Lung Health Research, Education, and Advocacy

MIAMI & NEW YORK, (Oct. 31, 2023) - November is COPD Awareness Month. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which affects more than 30 million Americans, is a serious chronic lung disease characterized by shortness of breath. During the month of November, the COPD Foundation invites people to participate in a variety of awareness events to bring attention to the patient community and support critical research, education, and advocacy efforts.

COPD comprises several conditions, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema, and can be caused by genetics, irritants like smoke or pollution, or early life events like lung infections.

Although the disease is the third leading cause of death worldwide, there is little awareness of the disease's symptoms, risk factors, and disease management techniques. Increased public awareness of COPD and its symptoms during the month of November helps drive funding for critical research and treatments, encourages early diagnosis, and raises awareness of educational and support resources.

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COPD Foundation holds exercise challenge to support COPD Awareness Month in November

October 27, 2023

Lace Up for Lungs campaign challenges participants to exercise for 30 minutes a day to raise awareness and funds for COPD research

MIAMI & NEW YORK, (Oct. 27, 2023) - This November, the COPD Foundation will kick off COPD Awareness Month with its Lace Up for Lungs campaign, a 30-day exercise and fundraising challenge to raise awareness and funds for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), bronchiectasis, and nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) lung disease. The media challenge encourages people of any age or ability level to get active for 30 minutes a day each day in November.

COPD comprises several conditions, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema, and can be caused by genetics and irritants like smoke or pollution. The disease affects more than 30 million Americans and is the third leading cause of death worldwide, yet awareness of the disease's symptoms, methods to reduce risk, and disease management remains poor. Symptoms include breathlessness, fatigue, and chronic cough.

According to research, regular physical activity can help COPD patients breathe better, feel better, and live longer, more fulfilling lives.

"Despite its prevalence, COPD is underfunded and misunderstood," said Jean Wright, M.D., MBA, CEO of the COPD Foundation. "COPD Awareness Month gives us a chance to shine a spotlight on chronic lung disease, share symptoms and signs, reduce stigma, promote early diagnosis, and support patients and their families. Lace Up for Lungs is the perfect opportunity to promote regular exercise and encourage people to get moving, which can improve symptoms and quality of life for those living with the disease."

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Research shows that COPD stigma hinders treatment and harms mental health for patients, and also leads to reduced funding

October 18, 2023

COPD Awareness Month is celebrated in November

Miami, Fla. (Oct. 18, 2023) --- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder) is a chronic, progressive lung disease that affects more than 30 million people in the United States. Shockingly, over 15 million of them remain undiagnosed. COPD comprises several conditions, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema, and can be caused by genetics and irritants like smoke or pollution. In the United States cigarette smoking remains the most common cause but data suggests that 25-40% of COPD occurs in never smokers.

Stigma and the perception that the disease is self-inflicted profoundly impact social support, mental health, self-esteem, and likelihood of pursuing diagnosis and treatment. Because of public and professional bias, COPD patients are also more likely to experience inappropriate or insufficient care from medical staff, endure uncomfortable patient-doctor interactions, and be refused emergency care and access to oxygen therapy1.

COPD has five main causes:

  1. Smoking, secondhand smoke
  2. Early life-events like premature birth
  3. Occupational and environmental causes such as long-term exposure to air pollutants
  4. Genetics (alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency)
  5. Recurrent lung infections, particularly during childhood

This classification of COPD into origin types helps researchers, medical professionals, and the public re-examine assumptions about COPD patients and increases the likelihood that critical research and new treatment options will receive funding and support.

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August 24, 2023

(MIAMI, NEW YORK, AND SAN FRANCISCO, August 24, 2023) – The COPD Foundation and Kivo Health, which provides groundbreaking telehealth pulmonary rehabilitation for individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), have formed a collaborative alliance to improve access to virtual pulmonary rehabilitation.

While pulmonary rehabilitation is a “gold standard” treatment for lung disease and has been shown to reduce symptoms, mortality, and healthcare costs for those suffering from COPD, only 3% of affected people complete it after hospitalization due to transportation barriers, cost of travel, distance from a rehab center, or severe symptoms. Virtual pulmonary rehab can remove many barriers to access. Completing pulmonary rehab from the comfort of home can also help alleviate some of the anxiety that comes with starting a new treatment program.

Kivo Health's eight week, Medicare-supported, virtual pulmonary rehab program provides patients with an in-home rehab kit including tablet and wristwatch, real-time oxygen and heart rate monitoring, guided breathing exercises, and lung health education with a credentialed respiratory therapist. Patients need not have access to the internet or be technologically savvy - everything is included in the kit and easy to understand and thus has resulted in nearly 90% adherence.

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August 05, 2023

Online events to run through August

(NEW YORK AND MIAMI, August 4, 2023) - On August 4, 2023, leading lung health organizations around the world celebrated World NTM Awareness Day. This day of recognition aims to increase global awareness of nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) lung disease by bringing together patient advocates, lung health partner organizations, and leading NTM experts to spread awareness and education.

Bronchiectasis and NTM 360, a division of the COPD Foundation, aims at addressing the unmet needs of the bronchiectasis and NTM communities by providing programs to advance awareness, increase education, accelerate research, and improve long-term patient care. World NTM Awareness Day was established by NTM Info and Research (NTMir) to increase access to patient resources, education, and early detection.

Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) are difficult-to-remove environmental organisms found in soil, dust, moist places like plumbing, and any type of water source. NTM can affect anyone's lungs, but those with suppressed immune systems or other pulmonary problems are particularly vulnerable. In the United States, the prevalence of NTM is growing at an alarming rate.

In honor of World NTM Awareness Day, several free webinars with lung health experts will be offered that will empower people living with NTM to lead happier, healthier lives. There will be an open question and answer session for attendees after each presentation. Online webinars include:

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The COPD Foundation Hosts Second Annual World Bronchiectasis Day on July 1

June 28, 2023

MIAMI, FLORIDA - On July 1, 2023, the COPD Foundation and 19 global lung health partners will celebrate World Bronchiectasis Day, a global campaign to raise awareness and education for bronchiectasis.

Bronchiectasis is a lesser-known chronic lung disease that affects hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. It is characterized by enlarged or scarred airways that cannot clear mucus properly, resulting in recurring lung infections, difficulty breathing, and premature death. Symptoms like frequent coughing, fatigue, fever, chest pain, and chills can mimic other lung conditions, which can delay diagnosis.

As the prevalence of bronchiectasis grows across the globe, prevention and awareness efforts are more critical than ever. Detecting and treating bronchiectasis early can improve quality of life and may impact the longevity of those affected. For the second year, organizers will coordinate activities through a unified disease awareness campaign featuring:

  • Educational resources in several languages
  • Free virtual educational events where people can learn about bronchiectasis symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment from medical experts and patients
  • Opportunities for community support for those living with the disease

"Many patients with bronchiectasis struggle for years prior to establishing a diagnosis and once they're diagnosed, often suffer alone or in silence with limited access to treatment information or social support," says Dr. Aksamit M.D., Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine physician at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN and director of the Bronchiectasis and NTM Initiative within the COPD Foundation. "The COPD Foundation and its global lung health partners are committed to meeting the unmet needs of the bronchiectasis and NTM lung disease global communities. Together, through World Bronchiectasis Day, we can help hundreds of thousands of people living with bronchiectasis access free resources and education that can improve their daily quality of life, build community and support, and find hope for themselves and the future of their disease."

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VillageMD Partners with the COPD Foundation to Better Identify and Treat COPD

April 26, 2023

Partners to help identify "missing millions" with undiagnosed COPD, and increase access to pulmonary rehabilitation

CHICAGO & MIAMI, April 25, 2023 - VillageMD and the COPD Foundation today announced a partnership to better identify and treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) at Village Medical practices.

In the United States, there are 15 million American adults, the “missing millions,” with undiagnosed COPD, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The partners aim to raise awareness through education and outreach campaigns to patients, help identify those with undiagnosed COPD and increase access to pulmonary rehabilitation.

"Patients who are living with COPD struggle with ongoing discomfort, breathlessness, and chronic coughs - and we have ways to help improve their quality of life," said Clive Fields, M.D., co-founder of VillageMD. "Through this partnership with the COPD Foundation, we will help our patients and at-risk populations manage or even prevent COPD through trusting patient-provider relationships, comprehensive care teams, and expanded access to rehabilitation resources."

"The best place to address COPD is in primary care, and Village Medical is a respected provider of quality primary care" said Byron Thomashow, M.D., co-founder and chief medical officer at the COPD Foundation. "VillageMD will help the Foundation identify people with undiagnosed COPD and connect them to therapies to help them breathe better and live healthier lives. We look forward to collaborating with Village Medical's physicians and advanced practice providers to engage our community as we work together to identify the missing millions."

COPD is almost always preventable and treatable. The challenge is that many people with COPD don't know they have it.

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NIH/NHLBI, PBRN clinics, researchers and COPD Foundation collaborate to test COPD screening tool

February 14, 2023

PBRNs in collaboration with academic physician-scientists and the COPD Foundation (COPDF) are studying how primary care clinics can identify and treat more people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

The NIH-supported CAPTURE screening tool to help primary care clinics identify adults with undiagnosed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) shows promise, according to research published in JAMA.

The COPD Assessment in Primary Care to Identify Undiagnosed Respiratory Disease & Exacerbation Risk (CAPTURE), which is supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), was developed to identify adults with COPD symptoms severe enough to treat, but who may miss a diagnosis. COPD affects more than 15 million Americans, about 1 in 12 adults. However, about half of people living with COPD are undiagnosed.

The clinical trial was designed by physician researchers, funded by NHLBI, implemented in seven primary care based Practice Based Research Networks (PBRNs) and supported by staff of the COPDF. The CAPTURE clinical trial enrolled 4,325 adults, ages 45-80, none of whom had a prior COPD diagnosis between Oct. 12, 2018 and April 1, 2022. Overall, 110 participants, 2.5% of the study sample were found to have undiagnosed moderate to severe COPD. CAPTURE identified 53, or 48%, of these cases. The screening criteria provided positive screens for 479 participants, 11%, without COPD.

“The goal with trying to find COPD is to treat it earlier, which will help make patients feel better and hopefully prevent their disease from progressing,” said Fernando J. Martinez, M.D., a principal investigator of the study and chief of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine, New York City. “The primary care PBRNs were an excellent place for this study using a real-world population in this clinical trial” reported co-investigator Barbara Yawn, MD of the University of Minnesota Department of Family and Community Health and the COPDF.

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Survey demonstrates that individuals with COPD seek more options to reduce risks of seasonal respiratory viral infections

January 30, 2023

ENA Respiratory and COPD Foundation survey confirms patients are overwhelmingly positive about taking an immune-modulating nasal spray to reduce lung disease exacerbations

Survey was conducted through COPD360Net®, an innovative COPD Foundation program that identifies unmet patient needs and integrates the patient voice into therapy development

Miami, Fla., and Melbourne, Australia, 30 January 2023 - A survey conducted collaboratively by the COPD Foundation, a not-for-profit organization established to improve the lives of people with COPD, bronchiectasis, and nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) lung disease, and ENA Respiratory, a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company developing INNA-051, a first-in-class broad-spectrum antiviral innate immunomodulator for the prophylaxis of respiratory viral infections for populations at risk of complications, found patients were overwhelmingly positive about the prospect of taking an antiviral nasal spray throughout the winter season or when at risk for exposure to a respiratory virus to prevent COPD flare-ups. The survey results were published in the January issue of the Journal of Patient Experience.

The survey was conducted through the COPD Foundation's COPD360Net® initiative, which facilitates connections between patients with chronic lung diseases, researchers, and other stakeholders to identify unmet patient needs and accelerate new therapy options. The vast majority (>80%) of the 376 patients surveyed expressed interest in a potential new seasonal anti-viral nasal spray, taken either twice weekly during the winter months or for two weeks after exposure to someone with a respiratory illness. Over half (56-58%) of patients with frequent COPD exacerbations were very interested.

Nearly all patients surveyed say they are vaccinated (>92%) for the flu, pneumonia, and COVID-19 and that they have previously taken antiviral medication during cold and flu season. Even so, more than a third (35%) report that viral illnesses have sometimes resulted in hospitalization and nearly half (45%) have needed antibiotics or steroids to treat complications of a viral illness. About 1 in 8 (12%) say they have been treated in an intensive care unit due to complications of a respiratory illness.

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