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COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) - Living With COPD

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 COPD.
  • 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.

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One Woman's Story:

Sarah, 67

"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.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 09, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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