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AUSTIN, Texas, Aug. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- What is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States? Many would be surprised to learn that chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is, and the number of people with COPD is increasing. According to the COPD Foundation, more than 12 million Americans are currently diagnosed with COPD and an additional 12 million may not realize their shortness of breath and coughing are in fact symptoms of this debilitating condition.

Although such symptoms can begin as a mild annoyance, they can get worse with time. Eventually patients find themselves short of breath doing simple activities, like preparing a meal or getting dressed.

But there is reason for hope.

Once diagnosed with COPD, often also referred to as emphysema or chronic bronchitis, there are multiple treatment options and ways to manage the disease and improve one's quality of life.  

The COPD Foundation offers multiple tips for better breathing and managing the often debilitating disease.

Avoid triggers and exposure to pollutants - Stay away from things such as dust, strong fumes and cigarette smoke that could irritate your lungs. Also, stay indoors as much as possible when the outside air quality is poor. It is best to avoid crowds during flu season and it is a good idea to get an annual flu shot. Try various breathing techniques such as: Pursed-lip breathing - Inhale through your nose for four seconds. Then exhale through your mouth for six-to-eight seconds, with your lips almost closed. Belly breathing - Breathing with your diaphragm makes more space for your lungs to take in air. Bend forward - Bending at the waist helps the diaphragm move more easily, allowing more air to fill the lungs. You can sit or stand with this technique, as long as you lean slightly forward from the waist, keeping your back straight.Consider a change in lifestyle Eat well

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