Lung Association campaign focuses on helping longtime COPD patients

Initiative will mark Awareness Month by educating patients on new resources

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by Mary Chapman |

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The American Lung Association has launched an initiative that has as its goal improving the quality of life of people who’ve been living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) for at least a decade.

The “COPD for Life” campaign, which is supported by the biopharmaceutical companies Sanofi and Regeneron, will provide educational resources and support services to these long-term patients.

It is one of the initiatives marking this year’s COPD Awareness Month, observed each November.

More than 12.5 million U.S. residents live with COPD, a chronic inflammatory lung disease that leads to symptoms such as cough with mucus, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Another 18 million Americans are thought to be living with the disease without a confirmed diagnosis.

“Fortunately, we have seen a significant amount of progress in COPD care and treatment over the last decade,” Harold Wimmer, the American Lung Association’s president and CEO, said in an association press release.

However, “because their original diagnosis was so long ago, people living with COPD for 10 or more years may have a lack of understanding of recent treatment options, updated treatment guidelines, and the awareness to recognize new or worsening symptoms and report them back to their healthcare provider. The goal of this program is to help people who have this disease reduce their exacerbations [or periods of sudden symptom worsening] and hospitalizations, and to live overall more active lives,” Wimmer added.

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‘COPD for Life’ will offer critical new resources to long-term patients

As part of the campaign, the organization performed a comprehensive literature review to learn how best to treat COPD patients. Based on its findings, the association is now offering resources to help those who have been living with COPD for at least 10 years lead a more active and enjoyable life.

These include educational resources about how to improve COPD self-management, decrease exacerbations and hospitalizations, and cope with anxiety and other mental health issues.

A primary goal is to improve overall health, as gauged by life quality and the ability to participate in daily activities.

The campaign also aims to educate patients on the latest COPD guidelines. This knowledge can empower them to have informed discussions with their healthcare providers and learn about new treatment and symptom management options.

The American Lung Association also will offer resources to those facing the highest COPD burden. A COPD patient navigator will be added to the organization’s Lung Helpline, accessible online or by calling 1-800-LungUSA. The navigator can provide specialized education to callers.

“We know that COPD is a life-threatening and progressive disease, and we’re committed to advancing research to more fully understand the inflammatory pathways underlying this disease. But we also know that patients are suffering now, and with that in mind we’re proud to support the ‘COPD for Life’ campaign which provides people living with COPD and their families with practical resources that are available now, including education and support services,” said Andrew Vieira, MD, Sanofi’s U.S. medical head of immunology.

Yamo Deniz, MD, Regeneron’s vice president and head of immunology and inflammation global medical franchise, said, “As a company dedicated to improving the lives of people with serious diseases, we are honored to support educating and motivating patients to be proactive and vigilant about their COPD care.”