November is National COPD Awareness Month, and joining the month-long campaign to boost public knowledge and action is the country’s American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST) Foundation, in cooperation with leading pharmaceutical company Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. This month, members of the Hispanic population will be one of the foundation’s main focuses, following up on the Tome Un Respiro COPD campaign launched earlier this year. The CHEST Foundation is comprised of over 18,700 international members who specialize in pulmonary health, critical care, and sleep medicine.
Today, COPD is known to be the country’s third leading cause of death, and is estimated to affect approximately 24 million Americans, with an alarming half still unaware they have the disease. Hispanics are ranked as the fastest-growing minority group in the US. This has prompted the need to tailor more research and health interventions specifically for their benefit and with their distinct characteristics in mind.
“Many people who suffer from COPD may visit their doctor regularly but not mention shortness of breath because they think it’s normal,” said Mark J. Rosen, M.D., Master FCCP medical director, CHEST Foundation. “Raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of COPD is critical to getting patients and providers talking in the exam room — and ultimately to facilitating earlier diagnosis and treatment.”
This month, the foundation and Sunovion will work together to strengthen COPD awareness among Hispanics, especially the importance of high risk individuals getting an accurate and early diagnosis. They will also work on improving patient-physician relations by encouraging both parties to make use of language resources available on TomeUnRespiro.com, as differences in language are known to be one of the biggest barriers to effective health care.
Hispanics should be aware of the 5 major risk factors for developing chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. This month, CHEST and Sunovion urges all who have any of these risk factors to begin making positive lifestyle modifications and get tested:
- Second-hand smoke
- Regular exposure to dust or chemicals
- History of difficulty in lung growth and development
- Recurrent and frequent respiratory infections
The director of the Respiratory Marketing for Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, Henry McMillan, said that Hispanics should change their misconception of COPD symptoms being normal signs of aging or being physically unfit. They are proud to be partnered with CHEST, in commemorating National COPD Awareness Month, and bolstering the Tome Un Respiro COPD awareness campaign.