A new educational and interactive campaign called The Breathing Room was launched today to help educate people about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and encourage those experiencing its symptoms to talk to their physicians about getting screened. The campaign will address the high prevalence of COPD, a national epidemic¹ that is under-recognized, under-diagnosed, under-treated,² and often confused with asthma.³ The Breathing Room, which kicked off its national tour of major US cities today, will be led by the COPD Foundation; EFFORTS, the largest COPD patient support group; and NLHEP, the National Lung Health Education Program. The program is sponsored by Pfizer Inc and Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc.
“COPD is a major public health concern that needs greater attention,” said John W. Walsh, president of The COPD Foundation. “Too many Americans are living with COPD, and they are either unaware that they have the illness or are reluctant to acknowledge the toll it takes on their lives because of the stigma associated with a smoking-related disease. Awareness of COPD is needed so those touched by the disease can take action, helping them or their loved ones manage the condition and improve their quality of life.”
The Breathing Room is a multimedia mobile exhibit that features in-depth disease management information and compelling educational components, such as a lung model. With 3-D interactive video technology, the lung model uses dramatic visuals and sounds to illustrate the differences in breathing and lung function between healthy and COPD-compromised lungs. When the model lung is healthy, visitors will feel a cool breeze and hear the sound of normal, paced breathing. As the visuals move to diseased lungs, the breeze will stop, and visitors will hear a persistent cough and the halting, labored sounds of the breathlessness associated with COPD.
Staffed by physicians, respiratory therapists, and other health care professionals from the COPD Foundation, EFFORTS and the NLHEP, The Breathing Room will allow the public and patients to learn more about lung health and COPD. Educational materials on COPD and a prescription treatment option will be available in the exhibit space.
During the next several months, The Breathing Room will appear in shopping malls in cities where there are high numbers of COPD patients. Additional information about the program and COPD is available at www.copdfoundation.org, www.emphysema.net or www.nlhep.org.
1. Sharpio, Steven. COPD Unwound, The New England Journal of Medicine. Vol. 352:2016-2019, May, 2005.
2. Pauwels R, Rabe K, Burden and clinical features of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), The Lancet, August 2004.
3. Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease. Global Strategy for the Diagnosis, Management and Prevention of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Executive Summary. Bethesda, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, April 2001; Updated September 2005. Available at http://www.goldcopd.com.