(BPT) - Breathing isn’t something Orlando, FL, resident John Coffey takes for granted. Five years ago, the software company owner could barely make it through a conference call without a coughing episode or feeling winded. Days he used to spend with his daughter at the local theme parks became few and far between. Coffey continued to limit his activity and changed his lifestyle to try to reduce the symptoms that made it so difficult to breathe. He quickly realized a personal fitness goal only intensified his symptoms and strained his breathing even more.
At that point, Coffey knew he needed to get to the bottom of what he was feeling every day. Coffey soon found himself in a pulmonologist’s office where he underwent a breathing function test. It was then that his doctor diagnosed the non-smoker with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
COPD is a progressive disease of the lungs that makes it hard to breathe.1 “Progressive” means that it gets worse over time.1 Minimizing exposure to risk factors, such as smoking, air pollution and exposure to dust or chemical fumes in the environment or workplace, may help prevent COPD.1
As of 2010, there were more than 14 million people identified as having COPD in the US and another estimated 12 million people who remain undiagnosed.2 At first, COPD may only present with mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. As the disease gets worse, symptoms usually become more severe.1
Receiving a diagnosis such as COPD or living with any breathing condition can be confusing or isolating. But out of determination to not let his disease define him, Coffey did his homework to better understand what he was experiencing. He turned to informational websites and online forums to educate himself as much as possible and found strength in others’ stories and knowing that he was not alone.
As Coffey can attest, every person’s journey with COPD is different. With this in mind, AstraZeneca created the Save Your Breath Facebook community in an effort to create a place where patients can share their breathing stories and find inspiration and empowerment.
Save Your Breath is an online community for the millions of people who suffer from shortness of breath brought on by conditions like asthma or COPD, which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. As a designated judgment-free zone, Save Your Breath is a place where anyone can freely receive support and learn about their condition and find tips to help manage their symptoms.
For people living with respiratory diseases, the sense of community combined with relevant information about their condition can help them believe in themselves and achieve small, tangible goals, one step at a time. Since its creation, more than 160,000 people have joined Save Your Breath and many use it as a place to connect with a supportive community.3
If you or someone you love suffers from a respiratory health condition, there is hope and support. Visit the Save Your Breath Facebook community page to join the conversation and learn more.
For Coffey, his advice for others living with COPD is to follow your doctor’s advice and not let this disease keep you down. He’s established a great relationship with his pulmonologist who has helped him find a treatment approach that works for him and helps him do the little things he loves.
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. COPD. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/copd. Accessed 10/3/2017.
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Morbidity & Mortality: 2012 Chart Book on Cardiovascular, Lung, and Blood Diseases. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/research/2012_ChartBook_508.pdf. Accessed October 8, 2017.
- Save Your Breath Facebook Page. Available at: http://www.facebook.com/saveyourbreathaz. Accessed September 28, 2017.
US-13967 Last Updated 10/17