Expert Answers: One Thing We Wish Everyone Knew.

Expert Answers: One Thing We Wish Everyone Knew

Last updated: October 2018

For COPD Awareness Month, we gave our experts questions that involved learning more about COPD, improving life with the condition, or, how we can raise awareness and help others learn more about it. So, we asked our experts...

What’s one thing you wish everyone knew about COPD?

Check out what they had to say, and please share your thoughts in the comments!

Response from John

That it does not mean your life is over. I know many people with COPD who have had it for decades and still manage to live functional lives. I know people with it who hike, swim, go on family vacations, walk marathons, and just about anything you can imagine. So, you can learn to cope with COPD. It does not mean your life is over.

Response from Leon

As we all are aware, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a chronic, progressive condition that can get worse over time. It can advance insidiously until one day, seemingly rather suddenly, a diagnosis may be made, practically without warning. COPD can cause symptoms such as shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, mucous production and more. It can also be mistaken as a normal sign of aging or even asthma. The first step of course, is to receive a proper and accurate diagnosis. Once the diagnosis has been established, the right treatment regimen can help you to breathe easier.

If there is only one thing to underscore about the complexities of dealing with COPD, it would be that COPD is a treatable illness. Recognizing that single fact will then direct you to the vast array of resources and information that is readily available to help yourself, your family, your friends and caregivers. These resources will provide the necessary assistance to live a productive and satisfying life throughout the years.

The goals of COPD treatment include such things as: relieving symptoms, slowing the progression of the disease, improving one's ability to stay active through exercise and pulmonary rehabilitation, preventing and treating complications (including exacerbations), and improving one's general health.1-3

Response from Lyn

It’s not their fault. Period.

Smoking may be the number one risk factor for COPD, but not everyone with COPD smoked. And honestly, what if they did? That doesn’t mean they deserve this disease. Many people, especially years ago, didn’t understand the dangers and risks of smoking. As with any illness, the person suffering from it deserves our support and empathy. As friends and family members of those with COPD, even if we cannot fully comprehend how they feel and what they’re going through, we can be there to cheer them on in their accomplishments and sustain them during rough patches. I often think of The Golden Rule when trying to help or understand those with a chronic illness – “Treat others as you would like to be treated”. It’s really that simple.

How about you? Is there one thing you wish everyone knew about COPD? Please share with us in the comments below!

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