Bringing Awareness: Part 1

Last updated: January 2023

Have you been diagnosed with COPD, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease? Do you know someone who has COPD?
COPD is the umbrella term for these lung diseases:

  • Emphysema
  • Chronic Bronchitis
  • Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, which is the genetic form of COPD
  • Chronic Asthma

COPD is a progressive disease. What are the causes COPD?

  • Smoking
  • Second-hand smoke
  • Air pollution
  • Things in the workplace: Dust, chemicals and fumes
  • Genetics can also cause Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, which is the genetic form of COPD

There are four stages of COPD:

  • Mild: FEV1 - 80% Lung function
  • Moderate: FEV1 - 51% to 79%
  • Severe: FEV1 - 30% and 50%
  • Very Severe: FEV1 - Below 30%

People with COPD who get sick often end up with these illnesses:

  • COPD Exacerbation: Respiratory infections, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, tiredness, flare.
  • Pneumonia: Infection that is in one or both lungs.
  • Anxiety, Depression: People with ongoing chronic illnesses and those with difficulty breathing sometimes become depressed. They may feel anxious when breathing becomes more difficult or when they anticipate struggling to breathe, as well as something affecting their breathing.

Circumstances might cause shortness of breath

We know that many things can affect our breathing and trigger an exacerbation.

Here are some things that come to mind that I've experienced. Some are more severe than others.

  • Being sick.
  • Walking on uneven sidewalks or paths, even some exercise.
  • Someone sprayed a cleaner as I walked past the two housekeepers in a motel. I'm sure that they didn't notice me right away.
  • Humidity, temperatures and weather conditions.
  • Noxious smell of skunk spray as we were driving.
  • Incense used in churches.
  • Burning sage at a funeral.
  • Candles, perfumes, air fresheners, flowers, and more scented things.
  • Cleaning products, especially aerosols. Highly scented garbage bags, dishwasher soaps, and more. I need to order online.
  • Hearing someone close to me had passed away.
  • Worry about family or friends.
  • Getting into an argument.
  • Being overtired.
  • And more...

Other things brought more awareness than anxiety. I do know it was heavy in my thoughts.

They affect my breathing. I should know better and am too trusting. It's important that you be aware so you aren't taken advantage of.

Knowing that someone can make us believe they are who they say they are, is scary. Sadly, others can portray a person that we might be able to put a name to. Possibly a celebrity or even a bodybuilder. Maybe a very fit person or even an obese person.

It’s not enough that we have to be aware of our physical and mental health. We must be aware of others, those who might try to take advantage of us or someone else.

Can these affect our health and our breathing? Yes, they can!

These things can hurt my heart and make me feel like my lungs are being squeezed tight. I know to do pursed lip breathing and to use my inhaler when needed.

Thankfully, this doesn't happen all of the time. I do have a wonderful support system.

It's important to share. Others may have something that triggers physical reactions because of something in their lives. If so, do you experience anything similar?

Share in the comments below.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

More on this topic

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The COPD.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.

Community Poll

Have you taken our COPD In America survey yey?