COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) - Living With COPD
Good nutrition is important to keep up
your strength and health. Problems with
muscle weakness and weight loss are common in people
with severe COPD. People with COPD who are very underweight, especially those
emphysema, are at higher risk of early death than are
people with COPD who have a normal weight.3
- COPD: Keeping Your Diet Healthy
- COPD: Avoiding Weight Loss
Seek education and support
Treating more than the
disease and its symptoms is very important. You also need:
- Education. Educating yourself and your
family about COPD and your treatment program helps you and your family cope
with your lung disease.
- Counseling and support. Shortness of
breath may reduce your activity level and make you feel socially isolated
because you cannot enjoy activities with your family and friends. You should be
able to lead a full life and be
sexually active. Counseling and support groups can
help you learn to live with COPD.
- A support network of family, friends,
and health professionals. Learning that you have a disease that may shorten
your life can trigger
depression or grieving. Anxiety can make your symptoms
worse and can trigger flare-ups or make them last longer. Support from family
and friends can reduce anxiety and stress and make it easier to live with
- Your treatment plan. Following a
treatment plan will make you feel better and less likely to become depressed. A
self-reward system, such as a night out to eat after staying on your medicine
and exercise schedule for a week, can help keep you motivated.
One Woman's Story:
"Not being the person I used to be-it makes me really
sad sometimes. There are lots of days I don't want to even get up, but then I
think about taking my walk or seeing my friends, and I want get out there. COPD
may slow me down, but it isn't going to stop me."-Sarah
Read more about how Sarah deals with her emotions.
If your disease gets worse, you
may want to think about
palliative care. Palliative (say "PAL-ee-uh-tiv") care
is a kind of care for people who have illnesses that do not go away and often
get worse over time. It is different from treating your illness.
Palliative care may help you to:
- Focus on improving your quality of life-not just in your body but also in your mind and spirit.
- Manage symptoms or side effects from
- Cope with your feelings about
living with a long-term disease.
- Make future plans around your medical care.
Palliative care may also help your family better
understand your disease and how to support you.
If you are
interested in palliative care, talk to your doctor. He or she may be able to
manage your care or refer you to a doctor who specializes in this type of