National health groups offer support for COPD patients and caregivers amid pandemic

An estimated 16.4 million Americans are living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – a chronic lung disease that makes it difficult to breathe – which places them at an increased risk for more severe illness from COVID-19. In honor of World COPD Day, and amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Lung Association and the COPD Foundation are sharing guidance and highlighting resources and support available to those living with COPD and their caregivers.

It’s critical that those living with COPD, as well as their caregivers, do all they can to protect their health and reduce their exposure to the virus. Changes in behavior, such as wearing a face mask, will be key to all of us staying healthy and out of the hospital, especially for those living with COPD, which is already a high-risk disease for readmissions to the hospital.”

Byron Thomashow, M.D, Chief Medical Officer, COPD Foundation

Questions about COPD management in the COVID era?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified those living with COPD among those at greater risk for the most severe complications from COVID-19. To protect their health, the American Lung Association and COPD Foundation encourage patients to work with their doctor to help manage their symptoms, stay on their maintenance medications and alert their healthcare provider of any changes in their health or symptoms. The organizations also encourage those living with COPD to reduce their exposure to the virus by utilizing telehealth when available and recommended by their provider, practicing thorough handwashing and avoiding touching their face, wearing a mask, staying physically distant from others and at home, when possible.

As national leading organizations supporting the health of COPD patients, the American Lung Association and COPD Foundation offer a variety of resources and support for both COPD patient and their caregivers:

  • Learn more about COPD from the American Lung Association, including how to manage symptoms and prepare for your next doctor visit at Lung.org/COPD. Direct questions to the American Lung Association’s toll-free Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNGUSA or email our experts. Visit Lung.org/covid19 for more information on COVID-19.
  • Learn how to better manage your symptoms or find answers to other frequently asked questions from the COPD Foundation by visiting COPDFoundation.org and choosing Learn More. The COPD Foundation is dedicated to providing the community with answers to questions that will impact the management of COPD during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Quitting smoking and vaping can help reduce your risk of COVID-19, and the American Lung Association stands ready to help people beat their nicotine addiction with proven methods to quit. Learn more at Lung.org/quit-smoking or call the Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNGUSA.

Find support in COPD communities, including online

While COPD patients may do all they can to protect their health from COVID-19, they may also be more likely to experience isolation and loneliness that may lead to depression. Those living with COPD often already struggle to live an active lifestyle. Taking additional efforts to protect your health may be isolating and difficult, but while we may be physically distanced, you’re not alone. There are resources and support communities available to you.”

Albert Rizzo, M.D, Chief Medical Officer, American Lung Association

  • The COPD Foundation has a wonderful, active community waiting for you – COPD360social.  If you are living with COPD, caring for someone, or if you are a healthcare professional working with COPD patients, click here. We also have a special online community for those living with Bronchiectasis or NTM lung disease. To find out more, click here. Our social community would love for you to join the conversation!
  • Get free support through the American Lung Association’s Better Breathers Network, which has provided support and community to those facing COPD for more than 40 years, and is now available virtually to reach those in rural areas and to offer safeguards for participants’ health during the pandemic.
  • The American Lung Association is proud to support the free, peer-to-peer online community at Inspire.com for people facing COPD, so you can connect with people who are in your shoes. You can start or respond to threads on the communities, upload photos and search for specific topics to find other members who share the same interests.

For more information on the American Lung Association, visit Lung.org. Learn more about the COPD Foundation at COPDfoundation.org or direct questions to the COPD Foundation at [email protected] For media seeking to schedule an interview with a lung health expert, contact Stephanie Goldina from the American Lung Association at [email protected] or Susan Williams from the COPD Foundation at [email protected]

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The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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