Prevention of COPD acute exacerbation attacks
Tips to Help COPD Patients Avoid Attacks
Living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) isn’t easy. Even dressing and eating can drain COPD patients of energy, and flare-ups are scary and stressful. Read on for tips on coping with this respiratory disease...
When Knowles Hamrick was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) about 20 years ago at 39, he wasn’t surprised.
Severe shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing and an allergic reaction to aerosol sprays and perfumes had been his constant companions for years, as were his daily 5 packs of cigarettes.
“I was very ill,” Hamrick says. “The doctor confirmed what I suspected.”
Like his fellow 15 million Americans diagnosed with COPD, Hamrick faces daily struggles coping with a disease that can make even cooking dinner a breath-robbing task.
“By the time COPD is diagnosed, patients often have lost up to half of their lung capacity,” says respiratory therapist Jane Martin, associate director of education at the COPD Foundation. “The effects can be extremely severe.”
COPD is a group of respiratory diseases that include chronic bronchitis and emphysema. It’s the third leading cause of death in the US, according to the World Health Organization.
While COPD was once thought of as largely a man's disease, its numbers are now slightly higher in women – largely because women smoke more now than before, and smoke may damage women’s lungs more than men’s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
But that doesn't mean men are safe from the disease. In fact, men with COPD are less likely than women to see a doctor or take prescribed medication, which can lead to faster lung damage and lower quality of life, the CDC says.
Chronic coughs, intense mucus production and disabling shortness of breath are common symptoms of COPD. As the disease progresses and lung function deteriorates, physical activity and social interactions become increasingly difficult.
But as devastating as the disease often is, COPD patients – both male and female – can take steps to reduce symptoms and live happier lives. Start with these 10 doctor-recommended tips for enjoying easier, more productive days.
Video: COPD I Nucleus Health
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