COM­MU­NITY HEALTH COR­NER

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - STATE NEWS -

If you have had a cold or suf­fered from al­ler­gies, you know what it feels like to have trou­ble breath­ing, mu­cus caught in your throat and chest, and a cough. Now imag­ine ex­pe­ri­enc­ing these con­di­tions all the time. That’s what it’s like to have chronic ob­struc­tive pul­monary dis­ease, com­monly known as COPD.

Cur­rently, al­most 15.7 mil­lion Amer­i­cans are di­ag­nosed with COPD and many more may have it and not know. In the U.S., COPD is the third lead­ing cause of death. While mor­tal­ity rates be­tween 1988 and 1999 grad­u­ally de­clined among males, it in­creased among fe­males by 53 per­cent, mak­ing it a sig­nif­i­cant health con­cern for women.

COPD is a pro­gres­sive dis­ease that causes cough­ing, wheez­ing, short­ness of breath, chest tight­ness and other symp­toms that worsen over time and make it dif­fi­cult to breathe. Se­vere COPD can pre­vent some­one from com­plet­ing ba­sic tasks such as cook­ing, walk­ing or even eat­ing. Typ­i­cally it is di­ag­nosed in mid­dle-aged or older adults.

The lead­ing cause of COPD is smok­ing cig­a­rettes. Most peo­ple with COPD smoke or used to smoke. Quit­ting smok­ing is the most im­por­tant first step you can take to pre­vent and treat the dis­ease. A his­tory of res­pi­ra­tory in­fec­tions or long-term ex­po­sure to ir­ri­tants such as air pol­lu­tion, chem­i­cal fumes or dust, may also con­trib­ute to COPD.

Although there is no cure, treat­ments and life­style changes that can make it eas­ier to live with COPD. At HealthAl­liance of the Hud­son Val­ley, the Res­pi­ra­tory Care Depart­ment re­sponds to emer­gen­cies for pa­tients of all ages from new­born through adults, and as­sists in im­prov­ing res­pi­ra­tory func­tion 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to in­pa­tient and Emer­gency Depart­ment pa­tients. Services in­clude med­i­ca­tion treat­ments, life sup­port and pul­monary test­ing to main­tain op­ti­mum phys­i­o­log­i­cal main­te­nance of the car­diores­pi­ra­tory sys­tem. For more in­for­ma­tion about res­pi­ra­tory services at HealthAl­liance, call 845-3313131.

For more in­for­ma­tion about HealthAl­liance of the Hud­son Val­ley, visit hahv.org

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