Before we talk about getting rid of mucus, lets
talk about why we have it in the first place. In
normal, healthy lungs a thin layer of mucus lines the
airways (breathing tubes - bronchi and bronchioles).
Just underneath this mucus blanket are cilia, millions
of tiny hair-like structures. These cilia act like ocean
waves to move the mucus upward, to where it can be
coughed out. As it moves, the mucus carries trapped
dust, bacteria and other substances. This is how your
lungs keep themselves clean. It makes sense that this
is sometimes called the mucociliary escalator.
Mucus also acts to humidify the air you breathe.
As air makes its way through your airways, it passes
over the mucus, keeping air passages moist.
Maggie was an inspiration for me as she was for
so many others. She loved life and those who were
lucky enough to be a part of her world.
The fractures may occur in any bone, but
fractures in the spine or vertebra appear to happen
frequently in COPD patients based on our research.
The other kind of fracture that is of great concern
is a hip fracture. Hip fractures do not happen as
frequently as the spine fractures but the effect on a
patient is much greater. Any type of injury can lead
to fractures when the bones are weak, so small events
such as minor falls can lead to wrist fractures, ankle
fractures, pelvic fractures and others.
According to this ongoing community feedback,
one of the biggest areas of concern voiced by COPD
patients appears to be oxygen use. Supplemental
oxygen therapy is typically an essential component
of the treatment plans for individuals with advanced
COPD , because of its proven benefits for quality of
life, exercise tolerance, survival and reduced risk of
hospitalization. But achieving these benefits can
be challenging. As a result of lack of education,
misperceptions, difficulties with equipment,
accessibility, and other important clinical issues,
rates of following and sticking with this vital therapy
are below 50 percent.
As a caregiver for my mom, who passed in her
early 50s with COPD I was sure I was an expert in
those shoes and would carry and share with others.
After reading Live Your Life with COPD: 52 Weeks
of Health, Happiness and Hope by Jane M. Martin
BA , LRT, CRT, I realized that I had just touched the
surface of what empathy truly is.
People with COPD and their families can
readily attest to how stressful hospital admissions
are and the extent to which they prolong a patients
recovery. Recently, the issue has become increasingly
pressing for hospitals, as well. In 2012, the Centers for
Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS s) Readmissions
Reduction Program formally highlighted
readmissions within 30 days as a factor that can
reflect the success (or weakness) of an institutions
care. In the first part of the program, only people
admitted to the hospital with pneumonia, congestive
heart failure or a heart attack and then readmitted
within 30 days were included.
I cant believe we are already half way through 2015. So much has already happened and there is so much to look forward to! The theme of the 2nd Digest issue for 2015 is collaboration. The COPD Foundation has been working rigorously with our partners to address COPD patient concerns such as preventing hospital readmissions, improving COPD research through patient-driven networks, and much more.
In this Digest, you can read about the 2nd Readmissions Summit, which was held in March in Washington, DC. The Summit had more than 100 of the fields most invested experts, such as case managers, social workers, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, physicians, respiratory therapists and government agency and health systems leaders, and patients brainstorm solutions to reduce the number of hospital readmissions to improve health outcomes for people with COPD.
When we collaborate, we are more than just a group of individuals sharing the same illnesswe are a community with the ability to be a force for change.
This is most clearly evident in the newly-launched COPD Patient-Powered Research Network (COPD PPRN), a patient-centered organization committed to improving the lives of patientssee pages 6 and 7. I urge you to consider joining the Networkby just answering the Networks survey questions, you allow your unique COPD information to help move COPD treatments and cures one step closer.
You can also learn about how to take charge of your own health. For patients who have concerns about supplemental oxygen, the PELICAN program, a uniquely patient-centered approach to improving results related to oxygen therapy, is introduced on pages 26 and 27.
In the Tribute section, you will meet Jennifer Cowgill, who lost her mother to COPD. To keep her mothers memory alive, Jennifer published a cookbook. Find out how she coped with her loss and read about some of her favorite memories with her mother on pages 12-13. Also in this section, we say good-bye to one of our communitys strongest advocates: Maggie Borger.
As you can see, this issue is full of stories that show the importance of working together to improve the lives of COPD patients through research, collaboration, and personal contribution. I hope that you will take the time to help us achieve our goals by sharing your stories, participating in our own unique research network and being advocates for COPD!
John W. Walsh