4 Tips for Coping with COPD

Get key facts about COPD and learn how to better manage your condition.

If you’ve been diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), you’re not alone.

The disease affects 24 million people in the U.S. It’s an umbrella term that includes progressive lung diseases such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis, refractory asthma and some forms of bronchiectasis.

Here are some key facts about the disease, as well as tips for coping. 

What are the symptoms of COPD?
COPD is characterized by increasing breathlessness. Other symptoms include:

  • Frequent coughing (with or without sputum)
  • Wheezing
  • Tightness in the chest

Tips for coping with COPD
Being diagnosed with COPD can be overwhelming. Here are some tips to help you cope:

  1. Learn as much as you can
    As with any diagnosis, knowledge is power. Learn as much as you can about COPD, including proper breathing techniques. Look for information from reputable, professional resources with solid credentials. Keep notes, and take time to let the information sink in and write down any questions you have. Ask your doctor if a pulmonary rehabilitation program may be right for you.

  2. Tell your doctor if you’re feeling depressed or anxious
    It’s very common for people to become anxious with a new medical diagnosis. Share your feelings with your doctor or healthcare professional, who can help you create a plan to help manage these feelings.

  3. Get support from the COPD community
    Talking to others can help you cope with your disease. Connect with other patients in a pulmonary rehabilitation or COPD support group, where you can share experiences and gain knowledge.

  4. Keep moving
    While your activity level may be limited by your lung function, ask your doctor about exercises that will be appropriate for your specific condition. Staying active will help you remain positive, and can also help you improve your overall fitness, strength, flexibility and state of mind.

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