COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is not an illness we are commonly acquainted with. It is quite ironic because as the seventh killer disease in the Philippines, COPD must be one of the diseases that we should be wary of. To spread awareness of this peculiar yet prevalent disease, GlaxoSmithKline and the Philippine College of Chest Physicians launched a new campaign called #MakeTimeForDad.
Basically, COPD is a progressive lung ailment that makes breathing difficult and invariable leads to death. Cigarette smoking causes 80% to 90% of COPD cases. However, it could also be caused by indoor and outdoor pollution. Patients who are suffering from COPD experience breathlessness, abnormal sputum characterized by a mix of saliva and mucus, and chronic cough. While it is one major killer disease in our country, only 2% of the 4.2 million Filipinos are diagnosed with it.
People are often diagnosed with COPD in their 50s and 60s. However, these diagnoses are relatively late as COPD can begin in your 40s. "If your father is a smoker and he begins to experience coughing with phlegm and an unusual breathing pattern, consult a doctor. He may be asked to get a spirometry exam to diagnose COPD," says Dr. Gio Barangan, GSK's Medical Director.
For this campaign, there is no other better person to share about the disease and its effects than Epy Quizon. Epy lost his father, the Comedy King Dolphy, to COPD three years ago. He shared that Dolphy used to be a heavy smoker who started smoking in his teen years. When he was 45, he was diagnosed with emphysema and by that time, his lungs were so black. The damage to his lungs continued to progress with age and he was diagnosed with COPD at the age of 79.
When he turned 80, he began carrying oxygen concentrator everywhere he went, The once vibrant Comedy King had become lethargic. Aside from frequent coughs and shortness of breath, Dolphy would also complain of tiredness after taking a few steps. "Our dad was a fighter. He was our general, our commander-in-chief, so watching him get weaker and trying hard to just catch his breath was very difficult for us," Epy recalled emotionally.
The #MakeTimeForDad campaign is an advocacy very close to Epy because it was the disease that took his dad's life. Thus, he wanted to make people aware of the disease and to give people a clearer picture of how the disease affects not only the patient but the entire family. As a progressive disease, COPD becomes a familial problem, Once the father is affected, the rest of the family assumes the responsibility of taking care of the patient and they play an important role in the patient's treatment journey.
To take part in the campaign, family members are encouraged to upload 30-second videos on Facebook and Instagram, stating a list of things they want to do or wish they could have done with their fathers. This would serve as a reminder for them to act now if they feel their loved ones are at risk for COPD, and value each moment they spend with them.
To know more about COPD, visit www.pinoycopd.com.