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Understanding and Treating COPD

The more you know, the easier it is to control COPD.

Rehabilitation Is Beneficial

Rehabilitation therapy also helps people with COPD. Schachter says rehabilitation therapy should include physical activity and exercise training. It also includes education about COPD and diet counseling.

“The physical conditioning is geared to people who have lung disease, and it can improve the patient’s endurance. Even though lung function may not improve, the person with COPD is able to be more physically active,” says Schachter.

Depression and Denial Are Common

As with any chronic illness, depression is a common response to COPD. “Some patients are embarrassed about having COPD, which leads to depression and denial,” says Schachter.”Many feel duped by cigarette companies and feel that they brought the problem [COPD] on themselves.”

Schachter urges patients with COPD who smoked to stop worrying. “Smokers are not self-destructive, lazy, or unmotivated.”  People smoke because they are addicted to nicotine, he says. And nicotine in cigarettes is as addictive as heroin or cocaine.

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Reviewed on July 27, 2010

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