VISN 5 Patient Health Education
Did you know that shortness of breath is not necessarily a normal part of aging? In fact, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, also known as COPD, is now the third leading cause of death. What is COPD? COPD means that the airways in your lungs are blocked or damaged from emphysema, asthma or chronic bronchitis.
Unfortunately, COPD often goes unreported because people confuse the symptoms of COPD with normal aging or being out of shape. Symptoms of COPD include a chronic cough, shortness of breath, feeling tired and worn out all the time, and wheezing. If you are having symptoms of COPD, report your symptoms to your health care team. Early diagnosis and treatment can help alleviate your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
The best way to keep COPD from getting worse is to quit smoking. It is NOT too late! Quitting now WILL make a difference. Your health care team can also help you learn how to avoid COPD infections.
Shortness of breath is difficult, but there are things you can do to learn to cope. These include:
- Learning breathing techniques
- Learning to conserve your energy by pacing yourself
Your provider will prescribe the best treatments to take care of your needs. For more information regarding COPD or shortness of breath, go to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute website.
Low Vision Awareness – VISION
May is Low Vision Awareness Month. When is the last time that you had your eyes checked? Low vision is a loss of eyesight that cannot be corrected medically, surgically, or with the use of regular eyeglasses.
If you are affected by vision loss, services are available at the first signs of vision loss. If you have diabetes, when was your last screening for retinopathy? Early detection can help prevent future safety concerns, such as falls and medication errors. It will also reduce your dependence on others, and maximize your overall quality of life. For more information on low vision services contact your local VA Medical Center.
VIST – Visually Impaired Service Team
Would you like support in managing your visual challenges? The Visual Impairment Service Team or VIST provides resources for managing challenges. VIST also gives you the opportunity to interact with others facing the same challenges. For more information regarding VIST meetings in your VA Medical Center, contact your primary care team.
Do you want to be in control of your online health care? If you are a Veteran enrolled at a VA facility, become registered on the My Healthy Vet website and complete the one-time, in-person authentication process. With My Healthy Vet, you can refill your VA prescription online, get VA Wellness Reminders, and participate in Secure Messaging with your health care team. For more information about the program, visit www.myhealth.va.gov.
For more health tips, visit VA's National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.
Network Brochures & Pamphlets
Facility Kiosk Locations
- Baltimore VA Medical Center
First floor Lobby at Outpatient Pharmacy
First floor Outpatient Clinic waiting area
- Loch Raven Outpatient Clinic
Lobby, patient waiting area
- Martinsburg VA Medical Center
First floor, Main hallway
- Perry Point VA Medical Center
Building 361, Outpatient waiting area
- Washington DC VA Medical Center
First Floor at Outpatient Pharmacy
First Floor, Room 1E237a, Patient Ed Center
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