The Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease’s (GOLD) annual World COPD Day represents a partnership between health care groups and respiratory educators to raise awareness about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The theme for 2015 is “It’s not too late,” which GOLD believes emphasizes the meaningful actions people can take to improve their respiratory health, at any stage before or after a COPD diagnosis, according to an organization press release.

By making the general public and the healthcare community aware of the symptoms of COPD, individuals with symptoms will receive appropriate treatment and prevent further deterioration of their lungs, GOLD says.

The organization believes this effort ultimately will:

  • Significantly reduce deaths from COPD
  • Cut the number of hospitalizations due to COPD
  • Reduce the rate of new cases of COPD developing.

The initiative’s key short-term strategies include

  • Making the general public aware of the symptoms of COPD;
  • Making tools for COPD diagnosis— especially spirometers—available to healthcare workers;
  • Making medications available and affordable;
  • Informing and educating health authorities, physicians, patients, and families about effective management of COPD; and
  • Supporting efforts to reduce people’s exposure to environmental risk factors implicated in the disease.

More information is available online at the GOLD website.