"Bringing home" the message about COPD

There are many times each year when I'm reminded--first hand--of what first drew me to GSK; specifically, the chance to help make a difference in patients' lives.Today, November 14, 2012 is one of those days.

Today is World COPD Day, which means GSK teams across the globe are helping to raise awareness for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It's also another day of living with COPD for a very close relative who first told me she had the disease several decades ago. At the time I felt surprised, uncertain regarding what this meant for her future, and above all, powerless to do anything about it--either for her or anyone else.After all, what difference could I possibly make? 

But I've learned over time that one of the best things we can to do "help" on an individual level is to spread the word.Doing so shows the affected person that we care, and it can have a potentially significant educational benefit to others, who in turn are empowered.      

Here are a few key points I've learned, and would like to share. COPD affects millions of people globally, often through coughing and breathlessness. Obviously, this can have a major impact on their normal activities.

But unlike asthma, it remains relatively poorly known and understood. For example, many people in the US who have COPD remain unaware that they have it, as only about one half are diagnosed. So that's how I contribute--by spreading the word and encouraging patients to talk with their doctor. And it's never too late.  Visit COPD.com for more information and to download a guide to help patients talk to their doctor. If you know someone who may benefit from these tools, please direct them to the site and show your support for World COPD day. 

Don't delay. Help spread the word.  There's never a better time to do so than today. On behalf of my family member and others like her, I thank you in advance to taking a few minutes to do something that can potentially make a real difference for others who have this disease.