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Expert Answers: One Thing We Wish Everyone Knew.

Expert Answers: One Thing We Wish Everyone Knew

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!

  1. Expert Answers: One Thing About COPD (Accessed October 2016)
  2. What is COPD? (Accessed October 2016)/li>
  3. Treating and Managing COPD>


  • 1952@ JumJum
    3 years ago

    I realize that I am unable to do things like I use to do!
    I am no longer THE SUPER WOMAN I was a long time ago!
    I could clean my house, do laundry, make supper, be with
    my son’s.
    BUT now I need to make s schedule out of what to do each
    day because I have an hard time breathing and I tired
    out quickly. BUT I also felt that after I am over
    the coughing, I am sweating so much it is unreal! So I
    am asking if anyone experience the same thing? This is
    important to me. God Bless!

  • Fred B
    3 years ago

    The one thing I have learned having coped is “to thine own self be true” I must LISTEN to my body and adjust accordingly. I like the comment I read which stated “I” will manage the disease and not let the disease manage me.

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Fred – we appreciate your post and your point of view. I thought, on view of your comment, that you might find it interesting and helpful to review this article on COPD and management plans:
    If you haven’t as yet, you may want to check out our Facebook page:
    All the best, Leon (site moderator)

  • Gin888
    3 years ago

    I wish others would understand how quickly I can go from feeling fine to feeling awful. It almost happens in a flash. That’s why I hesitate to make future plans.

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Gin888 – you are not alone. Many of our community members have expressed similar sentiments about how changeable their COPD symptoms can be. If you haven’t as yet, you may want to check out our Facebook page. There you will find like=minded community members with whom you can express and share your ideas. I’m certain you will appreciate the interaction. Here is the link:
    All the best, Leon (site moderator)

  • JMCC
    3 years ago

    The worst thing for me is trying to justify why I can’t do the same things, and why I don’t feel well alot of the time. I keep feeling that people think that I have just gotten lazy that I am a hypochondriac.

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi JMCC and thanks for your post. You are not alone in your sentiments as other community members have expressed similar feelings. In view of your comment, I thought you might find this article on that very topic makes interesting reading:
    All the best, Leon (site moderator)

  • dodeb
    3 years ago

    I wish that people knew that COPD is more than just being short of breath. It zaps your energy. That the weather affects what kind of day you’re having. Certain smells affect you. people that don’t understand think that you’re exaggerating.

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Patt1013 – we hear you!
    In view of your comment about the challenges in having your family understand how you feel with COPD, I thought you might find reading this material to be helpful: All the best, Leon (site moderator)

  • patt1013
    3 years ago

    I really can relate to what you are saying. Often I feel that family members think that I`m using my COPD as an excuse not to do things.I have had times that I just try to anyway and then end up gasping for air, coughing, and light headed and that is when I hear them say “Well, Why don`t you go to the doctor?” as if that would fix everything and I just don`t want to fix it. I guess it is hard for anyone to understand this monster, even we that have it so the best we can do is do the best we can with it.

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    3 years ago

    Thanks so much for your post, DODEB! Based on your comments I thought you might find it helpful to read these articles from our website:

    First this one on fatigue and energy:

    And second, this one on avoiding COPD triggers:

    You are always welcome here in our online community.
    Warm regards, Leon (site moderator)

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