Let’s Talk COPD

My diagnosis of COPD during 1987 was an unremarkable affair. The doctor informed me after tests for repeated bronchitis and shortness of breath that I had mild COPD. Prescribed an inhaler, and sent me on my way. No further information was offered. I did not know then what COPD was. That it’s full name was Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Nor did I know I had an incurable lung illness that was progressive, and that in time I would become more breathless.

COPD does not usually become apparent until after a significant amount of damage has already been done to the lungs. Symptoms often come and go at first. Sometimes only appearing as a cough that in smokers is often dismissed as smokers cough. In many cases it will only be when climbing steps or slopes leads to more breathlessness than usual, or bronchitis often that a doctor is visited. Little did I realize at the time there are four stages to travel in COPD, classed as mild, moderate, severe, and very severe.

In the USA COPD is the third leading cause of death. Over 134,000 Americans died of COPD during 2010, and that figure is rising. In 2011, 12.7 million adults over the age of 18 in the US alone were estimated to have COPD – with over 24 million adults showing evidence of impaired lung function. This indicates many cases of COPD not yet diagnosed.
COPD is a major cause of disability with the cost to the US government running into many billions of dollars. It is often said that if you Google your symptoms of illness you will soon be convinced you are about to die. I know of one COPD page that informs from diagnosis of COPD to death is a maximum of 5 years. Of course that is wrong. Or I would have been dust by the end of 1992.

During my work on health board initiatives and research most scientist and professors readily admit not all COPD is caused by smoking. Some is caused by illness, pollution, chemicals or even a faulty gene. Mine was caused as whooping cough damaged my lungs as a baby.

Although it has to be admitted the majority of COPD is caused by smoking cigarettes. If you smoke after you have been diagnosed as having COPD you will progress to the next stage and become disabled much faster. Remember. Once lung tissue is damaged it will not be regained, and any worsening will be permanent.

Today’s article has aimed to show the facts and to introduce myself. As you read more of my articles you will realize I write as is. I will hide nothing from you as to the nature of this illness because to do so would do you no favors. I will show you how to slow the illness. To live a better life and hopefully stave off the last stage of COPD for many years. It is possible to lead a long and fulfilled life for very many years. You will realize that you are more likely to die of something other than COPD because of the years it is possible to live with this illness, providing you follow a few simple do’s and don’ts.

I do know that very many people with COPD feel alone and devastated. That the end has come. You are not alone. I know very many people with COPD. The vast majority leading good lives. Yes it is a little harder than we would hope for. But hey, whoever said life was easy.

I hope you have found this first article of interest and look forward to writing more very soon. For now, whatever you are doing Breathe Easy.

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.