Health technology company Royal Philips is launching a global initiative on World COPD Day Wednesday in hopes of raising awareness of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and encouraging patients to remain active and improve their overall quality of life.
COPD is a progressive disorder estimated to affect more than 251 million people worldwide, including 12 million in the United States. According to a report by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD), by 2020, COPD will be the third leading cause of death.
Despite those figures, there is a relatively low awareness of COPD, and it often comes as a shock to those diagnosed with it, and it can be a struggle for them to cope with the disease.
In addition, because smoking is the main cause of COPD in developed countries, there is a stigma associated with it.
However, according to Teofilo Lee-Chiong, MD, chief medical liaison at Royal Philips, while COPD often presents patients with daily challenges, it doesn’t have to be a debilitating disorder.
“With new advancements like connected care technology, patients have the opportunity to maintain their quality of life by receiving treatment at home through remote monitoring capabilities, as well as having access to their physicians for any questions around their illness or therapy pathway,” Lee-Chiong said in a press release.
Connected care refers to real-time electronic communication between patients and their healthcare providers, often via telehealth — the use of electronic information and telecommunication technologies to support remote clinical healthcare. The method is believed to improve access to care, be comparatively more convenient, and help reduce healthcare service costs.
“These solutions also provide patients with a stronger support network, allowing the local care team to keep patients motivated and assist with their day-to-day activities. Through a positive outlook, an active lifestyle and adherence to therapy, patients with COPD can take back control of their lives,” Lee-Chiong said.
Beyond having an optimistic attitude, Royal Philips recommends COPD patients set short- and long-term goals; exercise regularly, with frequent rest periods, to strengthen muscles and improve airway circulation; get adequate sleep and maintain a healthy diet, since a poor diet can worsen symptoms and affect exercise ability; and be patient and understand that it takes time for exercise and a healthy diet to lead to strength and endurance recovery.
Organized by GOLD in collaboration with healthcare professionals and patient groups globally, World COPD Day is aimed at raising disease awareness and improving care. Since 2002, organizers in more than 50 countries have facilitated awareness and education events. This year’s theme is “Never too early, never too late.” More information is available here.