Raising Awareness about COPD

Posted:

URBANA--Wednesday is a day dedicated to raising awareness about a disease that affects millions across the country, and millions more don't even know they have it.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, affects the lungs and worsens with time.

It starts with a constant cough that lasts months or shortness of breath during typical daily activities.

These symptoms are easy to overlook, but are important to catch early on. Especially here in Central Illinois, where many run a higher risk of contracting the disease.

"Believe it or not it's more prevalent in our community than it is nationally because we're a huge farm community. And just like coal miners had black lung, we get farm lung," said Allan Morris, a registered respiratory therapist at Carle Foundation Hospital. "As a matter of fact, the biggest population of the bacteria that causes gangrene, can be found at Parkland, across the nation. We've got lots of gross stuff in our ground. So when the farms get dry, and the farmers till that up and they breathe it in, and no masks. That goes straight into the lungs."

Smoking is the number one cause of COPD. To determine whether you have COPD, schedule a pulmonary function test.

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