World COPD Day is a worldwide campaign aimed at raising awareness about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and improve COPD care throughout the world. The 2020 theme for World COPD Day will be “Living Well with COPD – Everybody. Everywhere”. This year’s aim is to send a positive message to both patients and providers that although COPD does not have a cure, there are many ways to actively live well.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a preventable and treatable disease that causes breathlessness, chronic sputum production, and cough.
There are 300 million current cases of COPD in the world.
COPD is currently the third leading cause of death globally and is highly prevalent in low resource countries.
The main risk factors are exposure to tobacco smoke and other inhaled toxic particles and gases & suboptimal lung growth before and after birth.

Living with COPD:
This year’s aim is to send a positive message to both patients and providers that although COPD does not have a cure, there are many ways to actively live well.
1- Vaccination: Staying healthy and preventing other serious illnesses can help COPD patients slow disease progression and prevent the burden of exacerbations. Vaccinations can reduce serious illness (such as those caused by lower respiratory tract infections) and death in COPD patients. In addition, they have been shown to reduce exacerbations.
All patients with COPD should have Influenza vaccine, Pneumococcal vaccine (PCV13 / PCV23)
Also to have a Tdap (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Whooping cough) booster, if you didn’t have one in adolescence.

2- Action Plan: Part of living well is understanding what to do with worsening symptoms.  Knowing how to recognize a change in symptoms and having a plan in place helps to reduce exacerbations and time spent in health centers. Make and/or update your COPD action plan with your doctor to help manage your exacerbations.

3- Mental Health: Anxiety & Depression are common and important co-morbidities in COPD. They are often under-diagnosed and associated with poor health status and prognosis. Cognitive therapy & Mind-body techniques can reduce anxiety and depression as well as improve lung function, dyspnoea, exercise capacity, and fatigue.

4- Correct Inhaler use: Correct inhaler use is an important part of disease management.  Older age, multiple devices, and lack of previous inhaler education are all risk factors for poor inhaler use and adherence.

5- Nutrition: Low BMI and low fat-free mass are associated with worse outcomes in COPD. In addition, Vitamin D been shown to impact exacerbations.  Improving vitamin D levels in severe deficiency, showed a 50% reduction in exacerbations. Maintaining proper nutrition is an important part of improving strength and fatigue, keeping active, and reducing the risk of exacerbation!

6- Pulmonary Rehabilitation: Pulmonary rehabilitation has been shown to be the most effective therapeutic strategy to improve shortness of breath, health status, and exercise tolerance and is appropriate for most patients with COPD  across all grades of severity. Youtube is a good free source of some ” home pulmonary rehab exercises”.

7-Avoiding tobacco smoke and other air pollutants: At home and at work, and OFCOURSE, STOP SMOKING !!!!

8-Peer support: Connecting with someone who has the same condition – someone who understands what you’re going through – can make all the difference. 

Common symptoms of COPD:
– Shortness of breath (breathlessness)
-A repetitive cough that doesn’t get better
-Increased phlegm or mucus production
– Feeling tired
– More frequent chest infections
– Longer recovery from cold or chest infection.

What can we do to reduce COPD and assist people with COPD?
– Most important is smoking-cessation programs
– Fighting against both indoor and outdoor air pollution
– Employers can strive for safe breathing environments
– Providers and policy makers can work together to improve access to spirometry, essential medications, and other treatments, including telehealth and other types of access for patients in remote settings.