Living With COPD
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Terry Coker, COPD PatientOk Troops
NarratorTerry Coker is one of the most positive employees at old fashion foods in Austell, Georgia
Terry Coker, COPD PatientI love it. I absolutely love it.
NarratorThe fact that he has to be connected to an oxygen tank in order to check off his to do list doesn't seem to matter. Terry – who is 59 – was diagnosed with COPD – or, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease – four years ago.
Terry Coker, COPD PatientI have been trying to make the best out of it since. I have no regrets. I have a good quality of life, I do just about anything I want to do.
NarratorTerry's blocked airways are due to a combination of factors: He had asthma as a child, his parents were heavy smokers and he had a hereditary predisposition to COPD due to alpha 1 antitrypsin deficiency.
Terry Coker, COPD PatientI actually am, I know this sounds crazy, I'm in better health now than I probably was two or three years ago because of the exercise and rehab. Nancy I am going over to rehab now.
NarratorTerry faithfully goes to pulmonary rehabilitation several times a week.
Marilyn Reasor, Pulmonary Rehab ProgramThese are people who have always been active all their life, and because of their limitations with their shortness of breath they start limiting their activities and then they become de conditioned.
Donna Riley, Respiratory TherapistPulmonary rehab is a change of life. This is the beginning of a journey.
NarratorFor example, when Loretta Freeman came to pulmonary rehab she could not even step onto the treadmill by herself.
Donna Riley, Respiratory TherapistBut now she is able to function at home. She goes up and down the stairs. She is able to do 30 minutes on the treadmill. We also know that when they have strong leg muscles they can walk easier and get up and down.
NarratorWhen COPD patients become less active and more dependent on others a vicious cycle can set in.
Donna Riley, Respiratory TherapistIt's easy for them to get depressed and downhearted and with their shortness of breath, they frequently have periods of what we call panic attacks.
NarratorThis makes them anxious and even more likely to limit activities.
Donna Riley, Respiratory TherapistOne of the most important things that I try to teach them is how to manage their shortness of breath so they won't have those panic attacks. We have known many times shortness of breath could be caused by fatigue of respiratory muscles.
Marilyn Reasor, Pulmonary Rehab ProgramThe good news is we can make those muscles stronger. If we make the respiratory muscles stronger, it increases endurance.
NarratorLearning how to manage their COPD is also empowering. Better breathers clubs – sponsored by the American Lung Association – are a source of education and support:
Marilyn Reasor, Pulmonary Rehab ProgramWe are very proactive about teaching them when to call the doctor, what are signs of an infection.
NarratorPatients are reminded to get the pneumonia shot and yearly flu vaccines and to work with their doctors to find the right medication regime.
Dr. Gerald Staton, Board Member, American Lung Assn.Many of these patients can live long and productive lives but they're going to have to stop smoking. They've got to take their medications, they've got to do their exercise, they've got to do their treatments on a regular basis.
NarratorThose are steps Terry Coker has taken. He did have to give up long distance motorcycle riding… But he still gets on the golf course…and travels with his wife. The secret to his success:
Terry Coker, COPD PatientStamina first, attitude second. And then on certain days attitude first, then stamina second.
NarratorFor WebMD, I’m Rhonda Rowland