November marks Lung Awareness month, a month where we all have the opportunity to shine a light on our particular disease. In my mind, as patients we should be making a noise everyday, as lung disease is not fashionable so we need to worker harder to be noticed.
What’s the point?
In the case of COPD funding is pathetic, especially when compared to many other diseases. In 2015 the NIH research funding and death rates report showed just how far behind in funding COPD is. HIV/AIDS received $3 billion in funding with 6465 deaths recorded, while COPD received $97 million in funding with 150,350 recorded deaths. There is no justification for this disparity in funding.
What this demonstrates is the more noise you make about a disease the more funding the disease is likely to receive. I would have thought the more recorded deaths combined with the burden on health systems would be a better criteria for where funding dollars should be directed.
You can make a difference!
Every patient can be an advocate, so can their families and friends. The more people involved in creating awareness the more noise we can make. It’s time to stop hiding from our disease, it’s time to start telling our story. We all know the stigma which is associated with COPD. How many have you been told – you’re a smoker so you deserve your disease? Poor lifestyle choices are responsible for many diseases, does someone who eats the wrong foods deserve diabetes?
If you’re ashamed of having COPD and try to hide your disease, this month is the time to come out of your shell. Accepting and embracing the fact you have a chronic disease is the first step. Rather than hide from the truth, share the truth, tell your story. Doing this could very well change another person’s destiny. Prevention and early diagnosis have been shown to be great tools in the fight against COPD.
Philips Respiratory Wellness is offering to donate $1 to the COPD Foundation for every video share for the month of November. By you, your family and friends taking part in this you’re doing your bit to help. You can find the video on Facebook by clicking HERE
COPD doesn’t have to be a death sentence. Changing your lifestyle, following your doctor’s instructions and keeping positive outlook are all factors which can contribute to slowing the progress of this disease. Doing the opposite is fraught with danger and will most likely result in poor outcomes.
As patients, our role is not to sit idly by waiting for the silver bullet solution which will cure our disease. Our role is to engage with family, friends and the community to create awareness and understanding of what we go through every day. If we can all do our little bit we can close the gap in disease funding. Closing this gap, receiving more funding will benefit patients now and well into the future.
The challenge is here now waiting for us all to take up. Don’t wait until tomorrow, next week or next month. World COPD Day is November 15th, contact your local lung association/foundation and ask how you can become involved! Make a difference today – Be admired for being proactive, not pitied for sitting in the dark!