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Find inspirational stories, tips from the COPD Coach, events, and current news on the COPD community blog. Have a question regarding COPD that you would like to share with our community? Contact our COPD Coach. Coaches Corner is aimed at providing information for individuals with COPD to take to your doctor, and is not in any way intended to be medical advice. If you would like to submit a question to the Coaches Corner email us at We would love to hear your questions and comments.

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Archive: September 2015

PRAXIS: Prevent and Reduce COPD Admissions through eXpertise and Innovation Sharing

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This blog post was written by Kristen Willard, Director of Health Outcomes at the COPD Foundation.

The COPD Foundation is excited to announce the launch of PRAXIS (Prevent and Reduce COPD Admissions through eXpertise and Innovation Sharing), a new initiative for healthcare providers, health systems administrators, and policy makers created to improve COPD care across the continuum and reduce preventable hospital readmissions. The site will go live on Monday, September 28, 2015.

COPD-related exacerbations cause approximately 800,000 hospitalizations and 1.5 million emergency room visits annually. In 2012, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) launched the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) to reduce the risk of hospital readmissions in patients hospitalized for acute myocardial infarction, pneumonia or heart failure. In October of 2013, the CMS HRRP was expanded to include hospitalizations for COPD exacerbations.

Following this announcement, the COPD Foundation held a multi-stakeholder National COPD Readmissions Summit to brainstorm ways to reduce hospital readmissions in patients hospitalized for COPD exacerbations. Five main themes emerged from the summit, including; COPD cannot be ignored by health systems, communities and future research initiatives; initiatives to reduce readmissions must be focused beyond just 30 days to make a meaningful impact on patient outcomes; community and the patient voice must be recognized throughout these efforts; interventions will need to be tailored to the settings in which they implemented; and the system needs infrastructure to promote and sustain collaboration.

The mission of PRAXIS is to prevent and reduce hospital admissions through expertise and innovation sharing.

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Tags: COPD hospital PRAXIS readmissions
Categories: COPD Foundation Initiatives and Activities

What is a COPD Exacerbation?

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Dear COPD Coach,
I was recently diagnosed as having COPD. The doctor who diagnosed me said that my condition is still not very severe, but could get worse if I were to start having exacerbations. I understood him to mean that an exacerbation means time that I would end up in the hospital because of not being able to breathe. What exactly is an exacerbation and how do you avoid having one?

—Newly Diagnosed

Dear Newly Diagnosed,
An exacerbation is when there is an increase in the severity of the symptoms of a chronic disease.

The main symptoms of a COPD exacerbation are an increase in breathlessness accompanied by increased wheezing, a tightness in your chest or soreness when breathing, increased mucous production with a change in its color (usually a darker yellow or green) or thickness, and a fever. Oftentimes, severe exacerbations may result in pneumonia. Each time a person with COPD gets an exacerbation, lung damage can occur and it is quite possible that some or all of the damage can be permanent. Repeated exacerbations can accelerate the progression of COPD. The two most common causes for a COPD exacerbation are viral or bacterial lung infections or exposure to pollutants.

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Tags: exacerbation hospitalization prevention support tips treatment
Categories: Coaches Corner

Have Trouble Eating with COPD?

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Dear COPD Coach,
I have stage 4 emphysema. It is impossible to eat without immediately feeling chest tightness or bloated like I am about to explode. I read about how the diaphragm gets pushed by the stomach and how it changes shape as COPD worsens. Does this mean that eventually I won’t be able to eat?

Thank you,

Dear Worried,
Thanks for writing. As a patient myself at stage 4, I also experience this. The mechanism you described is exactly correct! To answer your question, you will always be able to eat, however you are going to have to eat a little differently. As you lungs deteriorate, they become larger which then pushes against your stomach. When you eat large meals, your stomach pushes against your lungs and diaphragm which restricts your breathing. The key here is not to eat large meals or large portions, but instead eat smaller meals throughout the day. Also do not eat foods that can cause bloating or gas. Drinking plenty of water during the meals will also help ease the bloating. If you use supplemental oxygen, make sure you use it while you eat. When my wife and I go out to dinner, I tend to eat too much and have a difficult time returning to the car. I have since learned to order smaller portions, especially if I have to walk a long distance after the meal. I also make sure to eat throughout the day, several times a day, even if it is just a light snack. When I do this, I feel far less bloated.

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Tags: eating help lifestyle tips
Categories: Coaches Corner

Breathe Hackathon: Where Respiration Meets Innovation

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In September 2015, the COPD Foundation in association with Novartis Pharma, will host three hackathon events globally which will bring together designers, technicians, engineers, patients, physicians and entrepreneurs to investigate solutions to many of the problems COPD patients face daily.

So what is a hackathon and how can it help the COPD community, you ask? A hackathon is an event, typically lasting several days, in which a large number of people meet to engage in collaborative computer programming.

Over two days in Boston, London, and Tel Aviv, innovators from around the world will meet to “hack” into medical equipment for respiratory use such as CPAP devices, oxygen concentrators, and sleep monitors. They will explore unique solutions to many of the problems respiratory sufferers face daily. The innovators may look into multiple device integration for nighttime and morning use, making existing equipment lighter weight, or adding Bluetooth interfaces to equipment to allow control through a smartphone -- the possibilities are endless.

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Tags: BreatheHackathon Engineering innovation MIT Technology
Categories: Events

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