Big Ideas Theater, Episode 9: COPD and Pulmonary Rehab

 Published: March 7, 2018

By: Heather Willden


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In this episode of Big Ideas Theater, Grace Anne Dorney Koppel discusses COPD and the value of pulmonary rehab for patients.

The conversation opens with the statistic that there are about 30 million Americans with COPD, but only about 16 million have been diagnosed. Dorney-Koppel explains that this discrepancy is because people avoid telling their doctors when they have symptoms, such as breathlessness.

“Because it hits in middle age, people think: ‘you know what, I’m getting out of shape, I’m overweight, I’m getting older,’ but actually, it’s the disease catching up with them,” Dorney-Koppell said.

According to Dorney-Koppel, the reasons for developing COPD range from smoking to a variety of environmental or occupational factors. She then discussed the three therapy options available for patients: inhalers, supplemental oxygen, and—the best as she puts it—pulmonary rehab.

Dorney-Koppel also shared her excitement for the new COPD National Action Plan, which includes five goals: empower patients, improve care, gather the data, do research, and then “put this all into action through legislation.”

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Heather Willden

Heather Willden is the Director of Governance and Strategic Initiatives for the AARC where she works with state affiliates as the HOD liaison. She also manages DEI efforts and strategic initiatives. Connect with her about these topics by email, AARConnect or LinkedIn. When she's not working, you can find her podcasting with her husband, exploring new hiking trails, photographing, and spending time with her family.

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