To persons who suffer from any of these diseases, it’s not necessary to be reminded that November is designated as National COPD Awareness Month, Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, Diabetes Awareness Month, and Epilepsy Awareness Month. Most of us know persons who have one of these very serious health conditions, and want to do our part to make the world realize that they can help by donating or getting involved.
On behalf of the 24 million Americans living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), the third leading cause of death in the U.S. and a disease that kills one person every four minutes, the COPD Foundation is leading the call for increased research initiatives, enhanced screening and diagnosis, improved treatment and therapies, and heightened public awareness during November, COPD Awareness Month and November 16, 2011, World COPD Day. COPD encompasses a group of lung diseases, including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, refractory asthma and bronchiectasis. The most common symptoms are breathlessness (or a “need for air”), abnormal sputum (a mix of saliva and mucus in the airway), and a chronic cough. Daily activities, such as walking up a short flight of stairs or taking a shower, can become very difficult as the condition gradually worsens. The primary cause of COPD is tobacco smoke (including second-hand or passive exposure).
Alzheimer’s is a devastating illness. I have watched loved ones forget who even their closest family members are. It is a cruel disease. It takes away the person’s memory and gradually all of their abilities, with symptoms progressively worsening. Beginning with mild memory loss, until the late stages, the person loses the capability to carry on a conversation or even respond to their environment. Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. A worldwide effort is being made to find better ways to treat the disease, delay it’s onset, and prevent it from developing. There can be other reasons for memory loss, but if you or a loved one are experiencing these symptoms, consult with your physician, to reassure you that there may be other reasons behind it.
There are 23.6 million Americans with some form of Diabetes. Persons with diabetes know that checking their levels every day is very important, and diet plays another important part of staying healthy.
- Type 1 – begins in children and young adults. Type 1 is when the body does not produce insulin. Five to ten per cent of people have this form of the disease.
- Type 2 – is the most common form. The body either does not produce enough insulin, or cells ignore the insulin. After eating, the body breaks down sugars and starches into glucose, the basic fuel for cells. Insulin takes sugar from the body into cells. When glucose builds up in the blood rather than cells, it may lead to diabetes complications.
- Gestational – sometimes occurs around the 28th week or later of pregnancy. Most often it doesn’t mean that the mother will have diabetes once her baby is delivered. It is important that the physician monitor the blood glucose (blood sugar) levels during the pregnancy, so mom and baby will remain healthy.
The Epilepsy Foundation of America is dedicated to the welfare of the more than three million people in the United States with Epilepsy. The brain is the source of human epilepsy. Seizures occur when the electric system of the brain malfunctions. Rather than discharge electric energy in a controlled way, the brain cells can emit a surge of energy through the brain that may cause unconsciousness and contraction of the muscles. The seizures may last only a couple of minutes, but confusion may linger. Around 7 out of 10 persons with epilepsy may never know the cause of their seizures. Things such as head injuries, lack of oxygen to the brain during birth, and other brain injuries may damage the electrical system of the brain. Although some persons with Epilepsy may be aware of what starts their seizures, many are not. Many experts feel that most times the cause is patient failure to take their prescribed medications. Others causes of the beginning of seizures may be stress, sleep patterns, or photosensitivity.
Thanks to the organizations that support education and awareness of these serious disorders. America and our friends worldwide hope for a day when there will be preventive measures that can allow future generations to live healthy lives, free from disease. There are so many worthwhile causes; whether you choose to donate or support the ones we have discussed today, COPD Foundation, Alzheimers’ Association, American Diabetes Association, The Epilepsy Foundation of America, or any organization that is promoting better health, get involved in some way. Any amount of money or volunteering your time to one or more of these organizations is greatly appreciated. You may be helping a friend or family member that is or may become a victim of one of these diseases.
COPD Foundation/Alzheimer’s.Org/American Diabetes Association/Epilepsy Foundation of America