More Than a Feeling: Tired vs COPD Tired
Sometimes the word tired just doesn’t cut it when it comes to COPD. Although symptoms can vary from person to person, many people affected by COPD have one symptom in common - fatigue. In fact, our 2016 COPD In America survey revealed that fatigue was the second most common symptom experienced by respondents! When dealing with COPD, fatigue is more than “feeling tired”- it’s a powerful symptom that can have a large impact on your daily life.
Tired vs. COPD tired
Recently, we asked you in the COPD community to explain the difference between ‘tired’ and ‘COPD tired’, and they came back with many common experiences of COPD fatigue:
“Can't stay awake and tired”
“Nothing is left”
For many of you, “COPD tired” feels like complete and indisputable exhaustion. While maintaining an exercise routine and staying active can actually counter your COPD fatigue, for many of our community members, even “simple tasks” (like household cleaning) can seem overwhelming. The COPD cycle of tiredness” (avoiding physical activity due to fatigue, and therefore becoming more fatigued), can lead to a snowball effect of low energy and lethargy.
While every person’s management plan is different, many of our community members have shared success with pulmonary rehab, physical activity, and/or maintaining a daily schedule to combat the cycle of fatigue.
“You cannot talk yourself out of it”
“It takes a couple days to build energy back up”
“There is nothing I can do to change it”
For people who do not have COPD, ‘feeling tired’ can usually be solved with a quick nap or even just a large cup of coffee. In describing their symptoms, many of you shared that there isn’t usually a “quick fix” for being COPD tired. Unlike typical fatigue, COPD fatigue can feel out of your control, leaving many community members feeling frustrated or “lazy” when they can’t do the things that they need to get done.
For many of you, coming to terms with your COPD diagnosis has taken time, including accepting your changing energy levels. Although chronic fatigue can be frustrating, many community members have had success in pacing themselves and learning to rest when necessary. To read these experiences from fellow COPD patients, visit our Community Stories pages (and submit your own!)
“It seems all I can get are cat naps”
“I get tired during the day but I don't fall asleep till 4 or 5”
“I can't remember when I slept a whole 8 hours”
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