COPD Awareness Month Supporters Urged to ‘Lace Up for Lungs’

More exercise, education stressed this November in fight against COPD

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by Mary Chapman |

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This illustration shows a collection of ribbons for awareness month.

From exercising and promoting early diagnoses, to sporting orange and sharing resources on social media, supporters are marking COPD Awareness Month — observed each November — and working to call attention to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The chronic lung disorder affects 384 million people worldwide, including 16 million Americans, but is ranked in 176th place in the U.S. for research funding, according to the COPD Foundation.

As part of awareness month activities, the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) has organized World COPD Day, slated for Nov. 16.

The COPD Foundation, which works to prevent and cure COPD and related disorders, and improve patients’ lives, is presenting a host of events and activities under this year’s theme, “Lace Up for Lungs: Let’s Outpace COPD.”

“Together, we can bring greater visibility to the disease and educate, engage, and empower the public to recognize COPD symptoms and seek diagnosis and treatment,” the organization states on its awareness month webpage.

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Focus on exercise and early diagnoses

This year’s campaign theme, #LaceUpforLungs, focuses on “the need for better breathing & lung health, exercise & activity, and quality of life & caring for those impacted by COPD.”

The foundation’s fundraising efforts aim to heighten awareness of COPD and disorders like bronchiectasis and nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) lung disease, while underscoring the importance of better breathing and lung health through exercise. The challenge also seeks to emphasize the ongoing need for more disease research and education.

The COPD Foundation is calling for supporters to wear something orange — the official color for COPD awareness — then photograph or record a video of themselves, adding their name or the name of the person for whom they’re “lacing up.”  They’re then to use social media to challenge family members, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and others to join the challenge or donate to the foundation.

Activities may include, for example, walking, running, lifting weights, gardening, chair exercises, and stretching.

The nonprofit is offering a campaign toolkit that includes banners, videos, articles, and other information that can be shared about COPD and the importance of early diagnosis. Supporters also are encouraged to join COPD360social, a platform with more than 54,000 members, where they can share photos, videos, educational resources, and more.

There’s also a broader awareness month toolkit that offers downloadable images, as well as sample Twitter posts. These include materials featuring the foundation’s COPD risk screener, free educational resources, and a National Institutes of Health educational video. The toolkit also provides sample Facebook and LinkedIn posts, including those that promote disease advocacy and the organization’s patient guide app.

In addition, the foundation is encouraging patients, their caregivers, and healthcare professionals to listen to and share episodes of the COPD Podcast, a series aimed at raising COPD awareness and guiding those with the condition.

The organization is also highlighting COPD SOS, a public service campaign developed in partnership with the American Respiratory Foundation and the Dorney-Koppel Foundation. It aims to identify the “missing millions” who have COPD but don’t yet know it.

Awareness Month events include:

  • Nov. 11, a day to support veterans with COPD. Supporters are asked to share Lace Up for Lungs photos or videos on social media to honor veterans who have COPD, or other lung disorders. As part of the all-day effort, which occurs on Veterans Day in the U.S., the foundation will present Veterans Day Harmonicas for Health Play-Along at 1 p.m. EST. Registration for the event is now open.
  • Nov. 16, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST, the foundation will host a booth in the exhibit hall of the GOLD International COPD Conference, being held at the Sheraton Philadelphia, in Pennsylvania.

Elsewhere, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Learn More Breathe Better health education program is observing the month by offering resources to COPD patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals.

This year’s theme for World COPD Day is “Your Lungs for Life,” which highlights the importance of lifelong lung health. The campaign, organized by GOLD in collaboration with healthcare professionals and COPD patient groups globally, will focus on contributing factors to the disease and what can be done to help protect vulnerable populations.