10 Things to Know About COPD

ATsai Editor
  • 1. COPD is, in fact, chronic
    COPD is characterized by a limitation of airflow in the lung, which develops over time and is not reversible.  Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the two major diseases that define COPD. See here for more information.

    2. Smoking is a big cause, but not the only cause.
    Over 80 percent of COPD cases are caused by cigarette smoke, however, COPD can also occur due to other risk factors, such as air pollution, genetics and occupational or environmental hazards, among other things . See Kathi MacNaughton’s post here.

    3. COPD progresses at a fairly slow rate
    Often people with COPD make small adjustments to their lifestyle over the years, and accommodate their respiratory changes without even knowing it. When you do start noticing symptoms, your disease might be fairly far along. Read more here.

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    4. COPD isn’t just a disease for old people
    COPD can be diagnosed in adults in their 20s and 30s, and diagnosis in on the rise for people in their 40s. The primary cause of COPD in younger people is Alpha-1Antirypsin Deficiency, which is genetically inherited. Other causes include heredity, exposure to environmental breathing irritants, cigarette smoke, repeated lung infections as a child, and second-hand smoke exposure as a child. Read more about it here.

    5. You may experience a grieving process upon diagnosis
    According to Kathi MacNaughton’s post, it is essential to go through the grieving process of being diagnosed with COPD.  The stages of grief can be categorized as Shock & Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. Knowing where you are in the process, then learning how to cope is essential.

    6. It’s important to stop irritating your lungs – stop smoking
    Since smoking is one of the major causes of COPD, quitting is one of the best things you can do. However there are also other irritants to avoid, such as air pollution, chemical fumes and dust. Read more here.

    7. It’s OK to make lifestyle changes
    Don’t be afraid to conserve your energy by making lifestyle changes. Kathi MacNaughton gives tips, such as buying smaller containers of food and beverages so as not to wear yourself out lifting things, or using a cart to wheel things around and tongs or a pole with handles to reach things. See more tips here.

    8. End Stage COPD isn’t as scary as it sounds
    According to Jane Martin’s post, being told you have "end-stage COPD" is not a death sentence. There is a lot you can do, and you can live a long time. It’s important to remember that “end-stage COPD” is just a term.

    9. Pulmonary rehab is an essential step
    Though pulmonary rehab cannot cure your lung disease, it will allow you to gain strength, stamina and flexibility as well as teach you how to be as healthy as possible. More importantly, it gives people with lung disease the opportunity to learn from each other and offer support. Read more here.

    10. You can still live a quality life
    Being diagnosed with COPD does not mean your life is over! Maintaining your quality of life, while learning to live with COPD is key, but remember,  your attitude and approach to life is just as important. Find out more in Kathi’s post here.

Published On: January 19, 2010