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Learning to Breathe Better

Posted by on November 30th, 2017

Photo by Brina Blum from Unsplash

This past month has been National COPD Awareness Month. COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and essentially it makes it difficult to breathe. It occurs when the tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs aren’t clear.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) has created a program to help others learn about and take steps toward understanding COPD. Many people do not recognize the early warning signs of COPD, which could lead to losing valuable treatment time. These symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • Chronic cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Mucus
  • Wheezing

COPD most often occurs with people who smoke, have a genetic predisposition, or have long-term exposure to lung irritants. If these don’t apply, avoid areas where there might be pollutants (like secondhand smoke) or going outdoors when the air quality is poor. You can check air quality using the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) AirNow website.

Some may worry about breathing in air pollution while exercising, but the health risks associated with that are less than having an inactive lifestyle.

To read more about COPD, explore the topic page on MedlinePlus.

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