Getting a diagnosis of COPD can be stressful, and also can bring up tons of questions for both the patient and the caregivers, if any. Many people want to know what to expect, so we asked our experts John, Leon, and Lyn the following question:
How do I learn more about the progression of COPD and what I can expect for the future?
Response from John
The best way to learn about the progression of your disease is to see your doctor on a regular basis. If you are not satisfied with what your doctor is telling you, it may be a good idea to see a lung specialist, such as a pulmonologist. Your doctor is also the best bet to help you decide what to expect in the future.
Response from Leon
Learning about the disease is the best way to live productively and cope with COPD. Your physician and pulmonary rehabilitation program can provide insight into the disease, its progression and what you can expect in the future. As well, there is a wealth of information on the internet. This website, COPD.net, and our Facebook page, provide much information on the disease. That is a good place to start at home.
Ongoing research yields new medications and innovative approaches to help alleviate the symptoms of COPD. When appropriate, your health care provider may be able to prescribe new treatment options for you.
Response from Lyn
Tell your pulmonologist you want frank and honest answers to your questions regarding your illness. Make it clear that want to be proactive in managing your illness. It’s important to get an accurate picture of your COPD. Websites such as this are designed to answer questions about the nature of COPD and the progression of it. If you continue researching COPD online, always be sure to pick reputable sources for information. Consider sites such as the American Lung Association or Mayo Clinic and avoid Wikipedia if you want sound medical advice.
Ask your doctor about pulmonary rehab programs available in your area as well as support groups. Both are very helpful in managing COPD. But most importantly, continue to remain as active as possible. You may need to adjust your activity levels as time goes by, but you will be the judge of that.
What about you? Do you have any advice for others with COPD on this topic? Please share your experience in the comments!