Being diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) was likely one of the most emotionally overwhelming days of your life. But imagine if your chronic disease was never diagnosed. Imagine the fear you’d feel each day not knowing why you were coughing up phlegm and why you were coughing more than usual. Imagine the increasing insecurity you’d experience as friends and loved ones slowed their pace to accommodate you as you struggled not to trail behind.
For some 12 million Americans with COPD, this is their reality. That’s why DRIVE4COPD, a public health initiative lead by the COPD Foundation, is working to educate people about chronic bronchitis and emphysema, as well as their causes.
Millions Remain Undiagnosed
According to DRIVE4COPD, “as many as 24 million Americans may have COPD, but approximately half don’t know it and remain undiagnosed.” DRIVE4COPD aims to help people identify symptoms of COPD like frequent or prolonged coughing, coughing up mucus and growing short of breath.
Launched February 2010 by Founding Sponsor Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., DRIVE4COPD educates those who may be at risk for COPD through diverse channels, including art, music, sports, live events and online activities.
Resources are Available
One of its most prominent resources is a validated COPD Population Screener™, which is a simple five-question survey that helps adults determine the likeliness their breathing problems are caused by COPD. According to DRIVE4COPD’s website, if your total score is 5 or more on the COPD Population Screener™, your breathing problems may be caused by COPD. The higher your score on the screener, the more likely you are to have COPD. Remember, your score on the COPD Population Screener™ only shows your likeliness of having COPD and does not replace a physician’s diagnosis. If you’re experiencing COPD-like symptoms, including but not limited to increased wheezing and shortness of breath and increased mucus when coughing, contact your physician.
Celebrities Join the Cause
DRIVE4COPD is supported by several celebrities whose lives are somehow affected by COPD, including Patty Loveless, Michael Strahan, Rob Riggle and Bruce Jenner.
“COPD took a huge toll on my wife’s grandparents,” said Bruce Jenner, Olympic Gold Medalist, motivational speaker and television personality, in a DRIVE4COPD YouTube video. “Even, when talking to them on the phone, we can hear them kind of gasping for air.” He continued, “The worst part was learning that, if they had been diagnosed earlier, they may have been able to go to their doctor and better manage the disease and get more out of life.”
You, too, can get involved with DRIVE4COPD. Both organizations and individuals are welcome to host events and support the initiative in various other ways. To learn more about DRIVE4COPD, visit www.drive4copd.org/index.aspx. You can also connect with DRIVE4COPD on Facebook and Twitter.
Photo Credit: Drive4COPD Facebook