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COPD: Danica Patrick Talks With EmpowHER About Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

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Danica Patrick, NASCAR Nationwide Series Driver, speaks with EmpowHER about the causes and symptoms of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and her work with DRIVE4COPD, a public health initiative to raise awareness of COPD.

Todd Hartley:
Did you know that chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also known as COPD, is the nation’s fourth leading cause of death? And that’s why I am joined right now by Danica Patrick and she is here on EmpowHER to talk about DRIVE4COPD – the kick off, which is a multi-year public health initiative. Hi Danica.

Danica Patrick:

Hi. Local, aren’t we?

Todd Hartley:

Danica Patrick:
You are based in Phoenix. I think I was at Fresh Start when…

Todd Hartley:
That’s right, the night that our founder, Michelle King Robson, was being honored, you were in the crowd.

Danica Patrick:
Yeah, when she was awarded for the night, yeah, I’m glad to hear it’s successful.

Todd Hartley:
Hey Danica, what comes to mind when you hear that COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in the US?

Danica Patrick:
It’s unbelievable how many people don’t know and how many people are affected and know, too, the fact that I didn’t really know what it was.

So this is an incredible, incredible awareness campaign for this disease that is the fourth leading cause of death in this country, more than breast cancer. So it needs some attention.

Todd Hartley:
Danica, can you share with us some of the symptoms of COPD?

Danica Patrick:
Well the symptoms are a lot of times broken down to just getting old, or being out of shape. There are things like not being able to, you know, do your normal activities that you would do whether it be workout or even just like function normally by going up the steps. You also sort of usually cough up some phlegm, and the leading cause of it is smoking but that’s not the only thing.

So actually at DRIVE4COPD.com there is a five-question questionnaire and you just tally up your score at the end then go, I should talk to my doctor, or you can feel good about the fact that you are healthy.

Todd Hartley:
Danica, I am an asthmatic; I love to run and exercise, but do you have any idea why people with breathing problems put it off and don’t go and talk to their doctor about it?

Danica Patrick:
You know, I mean asthma is not COPD but, you know, they have some of the same symptoms. So like, oh I just have asthma, or, oh, I am just out of shape or something.

There’s a great saying that I go by that normal things should be normal. So if you can sort of put it towards something like oh well that makes sense then it does.

But if you are not doing things normally like getting up the steps or like walking around your house, or like doing some physical activity without feeling just like you can’t breathe anymore, I mean, that’s a problem and the good news is that you actually can do something about this disease.

There are ways to help it and that’s also why it’s so encouraged to catch it early because it’s progressive and people just over time lose lung function, so you need to do something about it.

Todd Hartley:
I read that breathing problems has been in your family for a long time, can you share some of your earliest memories of breathing problems?

Danica Patrick:
Yes, my grandma has COPD and in the end she was in her mid 60s and she was in a wheelchair because she couldn’t walk, and she was on oxygen 24 hours a day and that’s in her 60s.

So I think she was one of those, unfortunately, that suffered from really ignoring symptoms and just getting through life. And she was a smoker as well and, you know, it’s sad because I never really got to know here at a mature enough age to have a good relationship.

I mean I was just a teenager when she passed away. So, it’s a sad story and hopefully less and less people all the time will have to deal with that kind of thing.

Todd Hartley:
Yeah, isn’t it amazing how lessons we learn from our grandparents and parents stick with us for the rest of our life, and now you get to do well by helping to create awareness for DRIVE4COPD and you can go to DRIVE4COPD.com.

Now Danica, while we’ve got you here on EmpowHER, can you tell me about the race team and the 6,000 miles across the country in four days event that you are going to be a part of?

Danica Patrick:
Well I am not driving but…

Todd Hartley:
Lucky for your competitors then.

Danica Patrick:
This is the first big day of the campaign and then at Daytona for the Daytona 500 the other four celebrities that are taking part in this which are Michael Strahan, Bruce Jenner, Patty Loveless and Jim Belushi will all start taking their long trip across the country to bring awareness to this as well.

And I start my race this weekend at Daytona and I plan on, from here on out, at any opportunity I can to bring awareness to this problem. It’s exciting and rewarding for me to be able to use my popularity as a platform to do something really good.

Todd Hartley:
Yeah, I am so proud of you, just got chills when you were talking about your grandmother. For more information on COPD I recommend you go to DRIVE4COPD.com, now that’s D-R-I-V-E; the number 4; COPD (dot) com.

Well she is NASCAR nationwide series Driver Danica Patrick. You probably see her from all over the press and she is the first woman to win a major closed course auto race and now she is driving people to learn about COPD. Go to DRIVE4COPD for more information.

Danica Patrick, thank you so much for helping us empower women.

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