Today, in conjunction with World COPD Day and National COPD Awareness Month, the CHEST Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the American College of Chest Physicians, is launching the second phase of the Tome Un Respiro campaign to raise awareness about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) among the Hispanic community. In partnership with Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. and AstraZeneca, this CHEST Foundation initiative underscores the importance of understanding COPD by providing valuable materials for Spanish-speaking patients, caregivers, and clinicians.

COPD is the third-leading cause of death in the United States and is estimated to affect 24 million people nationwide, half of whom remain undiagnosed. As the fastest-growing minority segment in the nation, it has become increasingly important to educate the Hispanic community about the risk factors and treatment options associated with COPD.

During the campaign, the CHEST Foundation is encouraging Hispanics to learn more about COPD, and, if they are at risk, to get screened. The campaign also encourages clinicians, especially those who work regularly with the Hispanic community, to provide patients with Spanish-language resources through the dedicated website.

“Raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of COPD is critical,” said Michael A. Campos, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and Chief, Pulmonary Section at the Miami Veterans Affairs Medical Center. “Currently, people with COPD within the Hispanic community visit the emergency room at twice the rate of non-Hispanics. Facilitating earlier diagnosis and routine treatment may help ensure improved quality of life and help patients, families, and caregivers understand and manage the condition.”

COPD is characterized by cough, shortness of breath, and wheezing. Studies indicate that one of every four smokers will get COPD. Other risk factors that may increase the chances of getting COPD include:

  • Exposure to second-hand smoke
  • Working, or living, in an area polluted by dust or chemicals
  • Previous problems with lung growth and development
  • Frequent respiratory infections

“There are major gaps in awareness and knowledge in the Hispanic community about COPD, such as mistaking symptoms of COPD as a normal sign of aging or being out of shape,” said Mike Austwick, Executive Director US Respiratory for AstraZeneca. “Through Tome Un Respiro, we are providing patients and caregivers with direct access to the best information they need to understand COPD and its diagnosis and treatment options.”

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Hispanic community is less likely to report symptoms of COPD,” said Henry McMillan, Senior Director, Respiratory Marketing for Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. “That is why Sunovion is dedicated to an ongoing effort of raising awareness of the symptoms, risk factors, and treatment options of COPD among Hispanics and encouraging those who may be at risk to talk to their health care provider.”

To access the campaign website and download the educational materials, visit


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