It's National COPD Awareness Month!
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Marc My Words: Bringing Visibility to an “Invisible” Disease
A Letter from the President and CEO
November marks National COPD Awareness Month, a time where individuals and organizations join together to bring visibility to this debilitating disease. Did you know that an estimated 28 million Americans suffer from COPD? That number accounts for 1 in every 8 Americans age 45 and older! And while 16 million Americans have been diagnosed with COPD, the rest do not know they have the disease.
So you might be asking, what even is this disease and why does it affect so many people? COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, refers to a group of progressive lung diseases that block airflow, making it difficult to breathe. The two major lung diseases that form COPD are chronic bronchitis and emphysema, and it is not uncommon to have both simultaneously. COPD is caused by long-term exposure to irritants, such as cigarette smoke or air pollution, that damage your airways over time. And that damage may not be noticeable until the symptoms get worse and impact an individual’s daily life.
COPD is the fourth leading cause of death nationally, but it does not need to be. Unfortunately, since at least 12 million people have symptoms of the disease but have not been diagnosed, they may find out only when the disease is in its late stages. That’s when people get out of breath doing normal everyday things most of us take for granted, like walking just a few steps, putting on clothes, or talking on the telephone. 
These people are missing out on potentially life-saving treatments due to a lack of knowledge of this common, but often invisible disease. I say invisible because those with late stage COPD are often so hampered by their difficulty breathing that they rarely venture out. Those with early stage COPD often do not know they have it. They do not understand that the cough they “can’t seem to get rid of” or the tightness in their chest they ascribe to “just something that happens when you get old,” are actually symptoms of a progressive chronic disease. So getting greater visibility for this disease is critical if those who have it are diagnosed early. Currently, on average, COPD patients are diagnosed 15 years after the first onset of symptoms!
Education and awareness about COPD has the potential to transform people’s lives by helping those diagnosed early to better manage their disease leading to a better quality of life and a longer life. It is up to all of us to spread the word so that people know they should ask their doctor for an quick, easy and inexpensive lung capacity test (also called a spirometry test) to see if they are at risk for COPD. Talk about COPD at the dinner table, attend workshops and events discussing COPD, and reach out to your friends and family with COPD to offer your support. Start your #LifeLUNG education now!
We encourage you to visit our website, and follow us on social media at @BreatheSoCal and me at @mcarrel to begin your COPD education. We will be posting informative COPD graphics and sharing events throughout the month so that you can get involved. To begin your educational journey, read below to learn about a helpful COPD breathing technique that you can practice from your home when you are feeling short of breath or just need to relax when you are stressed.
Together, we can fight COPD and help everyone Breathe Easier!
In Health, 
Marc Carrel 
President & CEO 
Breathing Exercises for COPD:
How should I breathe when I am short of breath?
The goal of this breathing exercise is to reduce shortness of breath by pushing out the air from inside the lungs more effectively. It is not recommended to use these activities to try to control chest pain or tightness in the upper chest, as these symptoms could be a sign of cardiac arrest.
This helpful technique is called Pursed-Lip Breathing, which helps you use less energy to breathe, contributes to relaxation, and slows the pace of your breath. Use this technique when you do anything that makes you short of breath, such as exercising, bending and lifting, climbing stairs, or experiencing anxiety.
1. Relax the muscles in your neck and shoulders.

2. Sit in a comfortable chair with your feet on the floor.

3. Inhale slowly through your nose for 2 counts.

4. Feel your belly get larger as you breathe in.

5. Pucker your lips, as if you were going to whistle or blow out a candle.

6. Exhale slowly through your lips for 4 or more counts.

Repeat this breathing technique by inhaling through your nose for 2 counts then exhaling through your mouth for 4 counts. Try to increase your breath to a 3 second inhale and 6 second exhale. Use this technique for as long as you would like.
What Did I Miss Last Month?
A Successful Virtual Lung Power™ Webinar!
Thank you to our wonderful partners Aquarium of the Pacific and the Port of Long Beach for making this virtual webinar possible to help families better manage their child’s asthma.
If you missed the presentation and would like to learn more about asthma symptoms, triggers, and management, click the Lung Power video to the left to watch a recording!
An Estate Planning 101 Webinar!
Special guest Attorney Sona A. Tatiyants, LL.M Founder of Lynk Law covered the basics of estate planning, last will & testament, power of attorney & healthcare directives specifics; the benefits of each and the pitfalls to avoid.

If you missed the presentation and would like to learn more about estate planning, click the video to the left to watch a recording!
A Breathe EasierWebinar with LADWP!
We had the opportunity to host nine webinars with LADWP, including our Breathe Clean, Save Green webinar last month! We engaged with attendees through Zoom and Facebook Live to discuss ways people can combat air pollution by conserving energy, and ways we can lower our risk for lung disease by avoiding common household pollutants.
This month, we we will be hosting three more Breathe Clean, Save Green webinars with LADWP! If you want to learn more about ways to save money by making your home more energy efficient (and get a chance to win a FREE LED lightbulb kit), make sure to register using this link.
Support COPD Awareness in Southern California
Click here to make a difference by making a donation. Your gift helps us educate community members about COPD, screen individuals for COPD at community centers and public events throughout the region, promote early diagnosis, and help people manage their COPD once diagnosed. Thank you for your support.

Give now to make an impact immediately, through one of the below steps:
  • Online here 
  • By mail at: Breathe Southern California, 5858 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 300, Los Angeles, CA 90036
  • By phone at: (323) 935-8050 ext. 247 (with a credit card)