Nearly 16 million people in the United States are currently living with a COPD diagnosis, and millions more don’t know they have it. In people with COPD, the airways that carry air in and out of the lungs become partially blocked, which makes it increasingly difficult to breathe. If left undetected, the disease can greatly affect your quality of life and your ability to complete even ordinary daily activities.
Are Your Lungs Trying to Tell You Something?
(Family Features) Do you get short of breath doing daily activities? Feel like you’re unable to take deep breaths? Are you constantly coughing or wheezing? If you said yes to any of these questions, you may be experiencing symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a serious, potentially devastating lung disease also known as chronic bronchitis or emphysema. Though it’s easy to think of these symptoms as just part of “getting older’’ or as problems that come with allergies, often they are not.
Nearly 16 million people in the United States are currently living with a COPD diagnosis, and millions more don’t know they have it. COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of disability.
In people with COPD, the airways that carry air in and out of the lungs become partially blocked, which makes it increasingly difficult to breathe. If left undetected, the disease can greatly affect your quality of life and your ability to complete even ordinary daily activities.
COPD often occurs in people who have a history of smoking or long-term exposure to secondhand smoke and other lung irritants, such as air pollution, chemical fumes, and dusts from the environment or workplace. The chances of getting COPD also increases significantly in people who have alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, a rare genetic condition.
While COPD develops slowly and worsens over time, its symptoms can be treated and its progression can be slowed, which is why early detection and treatment are so important. If you are noticing any issues with your breathing, talk to your health care provider about getting tested for COPD. The sooner you get a diagnosis, the sooner treatment can begin. Your provider will design a treatment plan to help address your symptoms and improve your lung function and quality of life.
The key to keeping COPD at bay – or preventing it from getting worse – is to understand and recognize the signs and symptoms early and discuss them with your health care provider. The sooner this happens, the sooner you can get back to doing the things you love.
Through educational efforts like the Learn More Breathe Better program (https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/breathebetter ), the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute shares valuable information about the symptoms of COPD, as well as how to diagnose and treat it. With these tools, those living with COPD can effectively manage the disease, and those who have symptoms can find the support and assistance they need.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Stroke is a leading cause of serious, long-term adult disability in the United States and among the top five causes of death. However, with proper, timely medical attention, stroke is largely treatable. Knowing the warning signs and symptoms of a mini-stroke could help save a life.
Understanding the Serious Nature of Mini-Strokes
A survey conducted by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association shows one-third of United States adults have had symptoms consistent with a transient ischemic attack (TIA), also known as a mini-stroke, but only 3 percent called 911 for help.
“Ignoring any stroke signs could be a deadly mistake,” said Mitch Elkind, M.D., chair of the American Stroke Association Advisory Committee. “Only a formal medical diagnosis with brain imaging can determine whether you’re having a TIA or a stroke.”
The survey showed 35 percent of respondents experienced at least one sign of a TIA or mini-stroke, such as sudden trouble speaking or a severe headache with no known cause. According to the online survey, those who suffered symptoms were more likely to wait it out, rest or take medicine rather than call 911.
Stroke is a leading cause of serious, long-term adult disability in the United States and among the top five causes of death. However, with proper, timely medical attention, stroke is largely treatable. The faster you are treated, the more likely you are to have a positive outcome.
The American Stroke Association’s Together to End Stroke initiative, nationally sponsored by Medtronic, teaches the acronym F.A.S.T. to help people remember the most common stroke warning signs and what to do in a stroke emergency:
F – Face drooping
While the symptoms are the same, the difference between a TIA and a stroke is that the blockage is temporary, lasting between a few minutes and 24 hours. People who suffer a TIA, sometimes called a warning stroke, are more likely to have a stroke within 90 days, according to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.
Elkind said anyone who experiences a stroke warning sign that appears suddenly, whether it goes away or not, should call 911 immediately. This could improve the chances of an accurate diagnosis, treatment and recovery.
Stroke symptoms come on suddenly with no known cause and may include confusion, trouble speaking or understanding; weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body; trouble seeing in one or both eyes; trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination; or a severe headache.
To learn more about stroke warning signs and treatment, visit StrokeAssociation.org.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
American Heart Association
(BPT) - Did you know a simple test of your legs may be able to tell you if you have a higher risk for heart disease?
The test is quick, painless and non-invasive. A health professional fits pressure cuffs around your ankles and upper arms, and uses a small ultrasound device to measure the systolic blood pressure in your limbs. It is simple and painless. The disease is called Peripheral Arterial Disease or PAD.
Why is this important?
Heart disease is the leading killer of Americans of all age groups, races and genders. Detecting heart disease risks early is important in order to live an active and healthy life for as long as possible. Yet the general public remains largely unaware of PAD as indicator of heart blockages.
A recent study by University of California researchers, published in the journal Circulation Research, found a strong link between PAD and coronary artery disease and stroke. PAD occurs when fatty deposits build up in the small arteries outside the heart, and it usually affects the arteries that supply blood to legs and feet, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). The condition can not only cause tissue damage in the affected area, it could be a sign of chronic blockages throughout the arteries in a person’s body. About 8 million Americans have PAD, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Shockingly, the CDC says that 40 percent of people who have PAD may have no symptoms at all, and so be unaware they have the condition. This is why it is important to get screened. You may not have any idea that you are at risk. Having a screening may give you a hint at what lie in your future – in time to do something about it.
People who do have symptoms may feel muscle pain in the calves, hips and thighs while doing any kind of exercise that involves leg muscles — such as walking or climbing stairs, or experience cold legs, wounds that heal poorly or slowly, and burning, tingling or numbness in the legs.
Common PAD risk factors include:
* Smoking — The AHA says people who smoke may have four times the risk of developing PAD.
* Being overweight or obese
* A sedentary lifestyle
* High cholesterol
* High blood pressure
* Family history
* Age — Approximately 12-20 percent of people older than 60 have PAD, according to the CDC.
Because you can have PAD and experience no symptoms, many people may be unaware they have it — and that they’re at greater risk for developing heart disease. While health insurance may cover a PAD test for people who show symptoms of the disease, health experts recommend anyone with certain risk factors should be screened.
You don’t need a doctor’s prescription or a trip to the doctor’s office to have the test done; Life Line Screening performs affordable PAD testing in community settings throughout the country. To find out when a screening clinic may be scheduled in your area visit www.lifelinescreening.com/HeartCheck or call (877) 754-9631.
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