Better Breathing is Possible for People Living with COPD

Posted 11/7/19

(BPT) - Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is the third leading cause of death in the U.S., taking one life every four minutes. 1 More than 26 million Americans have COPD, which includes …

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Better Breathing is Possible for People Living with COPD


(BPT) - Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is the third leading cause of death in the U.S., taking one life every four minutes.1 More than 26 million Americans have COPD, which includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis or both, but alarmingly almost half of those with COPD remain undiagnosed.2 Symptoms of COPD, a chronic and progressive lung disease that can make it difficult to breathe, can make everyday tasks such as washing, doing laundry and even getting the mail challenging for patients. However, many people do not realize that COPD is treatable and symptoms can be managed. There is good news for people living with COPD who want to breathe better. A new educational campaign from Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Pfizer Inc, in partnership with best-selling author of Throw out Fifty Things: Clear the Clutter, Find Your Life and award-winning life coach, Gail Blanke, called Better Breathing is Possible teaches people with COPD steps to help manage their COPD and why this is important. The campaign was launched to coincide with this year’s World COPD Day observance, which raises awareness among the COPD community that “It’s Not Too Late” The campaign features a new four-part video series on YouTube ( that shows viewers steps they can take to help manage their COPD.   The videos also provide examples of lifestyle changes and a prescription treatment option that may be helpful under a physician’s supervision. Blanke, whose mother had emphysema, knows the seriousness of the disease first-hand. She recommends five steps to help patients stay motivated to manage COPD:

  1. EDUCATE YOURSELF about your condition to help keep it from taking over your life.
  2. PRIORITIZE ACTIVITIES and save your energy for the things that matter most.
  3. PACE YOURSELF to avoid pushing yourself too far.
  4. DECLARE your COPD action plan. Share it with friends and loved ones who support you, and make it part of your everyday life.
  5. CELEBRATE your progress and reward yourself for every accomplishment.
“It’s important to stay motivated when it comes to your health, but people need tools to help them,” said Blanke. “The five steps to creating a COPD action plan helped my mom manage her disease and can be effective when practiced every day.” A key goal of COPD treatment is to reduce the risk of a COPD flare-up, or a sudden worsening of symptoms3, which can cause damage to the lungs or airways. Even after recovery, a patient’s lungs may be worse off than they were before. Quitting smoking or reducing exposure to cigarette smoke, doing light exercises, eating a healthy diet and using medication, such as a daily maintenance therapy, are some ways to help patients breathe better.4 Spiriva® HandiHaler® (tiotropium bromide inhalation powder) is a prescription maintenance medicine used once every day to control COPD symptoms by relaxing the airways and keeping them open for 24 hours, day and night.5 It also helps reduce the risk of exacerbations, or flare-ups.5 The contents of the SPIRIVA capsule should be not be swallowed and only inhaled through your mouth using the HandiHaler device.5 It is important for patients to work closely with their physician to map out their COPD management plan and lifestyle changes to help manage COPD symptoms. For more information and to learn more from Gail Blanke and a COPD expert, please visit or Important Safety Information Do not use Spiriva® HandiHaler® (tiotropium bromide inhalation powder) if you are allergic to tiotropium or ipratropium (e.g., Atrovent®) or any of the ingredients in SPIRIVA. If your breathing suddenly worsens, your face, throat, lips, or tongue swells, you get hives, itching or rash, stop taking SPIRIVA and seek immediate medical help. SPIRIVA HandiHaler is not a rescue medicine and should not be used for treating sudden breathing problems. Do not swallow SPIRIVA capsules. The contents of the capsule should only be inhaled through your mouth using the HandiHaler device. If you have vision changes or eye pain or if you have difficulty passing urine or painful urination, stop taking SPIRIVA and call your doctor right away. Tell your doctor if you have glaucoma, problems passing urine or an enlarged prostate, as these may worsen with SPIRIVA. Tell your doctor if you have kidney problems or are allergic to milk proteins. Ask your doctor if you are not sure. Also discuss with your doctor all the medicines you take, including eye drops. The most common side effect with SPIRIVA is dry mouth. Others include constipation and trouble passing urine. For a complete list of reported side effects, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Do not let the powder from the SPIRIVA capsule get into your eyes. Dizziness and blurred vision may occur with SPIRIVA. Should you experience these symptoms, you should use caution when engaging in activities such as driving a car or operating appliances or other machines. Read the Patient Information and the step-by-step Instructions for Use for SPIRIVA before you use your inhaler. INDICATION Spiriva® HandiHaler® (tiotropium bromide inhalation powder) is a prescription medicine used once each day (a maintenance medicine) to control symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by relaxing your airways and keeping them open. COPD includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or both. SPIRIVA HandiHaler also reduces the likelihood of flare-ups and worsening of COPD symptoms (COPD exacerbations). You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit or call 1-800-FDA-1088. For full Spiriva Prescribing Information, including Patient Information and Instructions for use visit or contact Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceutical Inc. at 1-800-542-6257. 1 National Institutes of Health. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. COPD: Are You At Risk? Available at Accessed March 19, 2012. 2 U.S. Department of Health & Human Services,NHLBI Morbidity & Mortality: 2012 Chart Book on Cardiovascular, Lung, and Blood Diseases., Accessed August 30, 2012 3 Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease, Inc. Global strategy for the diagnosis, management and prevention of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. February 2011. Available at Accessibility verified  June 12, 2012. 4Standards for the Diagnosis and Management of Patients with COPD. American Thoracic Society and European Respiratory Society. 2004. Accessed May 1, 2012 at: 5 SPIRIVA HandiHaler PI March 2012. Better Breathing is Possible for People Living with COPD