Managing A COPD Diagnosis—Tips For Living Well
North American Precis Syndicate
There are many ways you can learn to cope with COPD.
(NAPSI)—It can be confusing and scary when someone first finds out
that he or she has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a leading
cause of death in the United States—but there are ways to keep living
life to the fullest.
Recently diagnosed patients and their families can be taken by
surprise—they might not know what COPD is, what it means for their
future or how the diagnosis will affect their ability to stay active. COPD is
among the most common, underdiagnosed, debilitating, deadly and costly
diseases to manage, and for those who have recently been diagnosed, it can be
difficult to figure out how to manage this life change. What’s more,
over 15 million Americans have been diagnosed with COPD and the National
Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute estimates that another 12 million are
undiagnosed or developing COPD.
Common symptoms of COPD are shortness of breath, wheezing, or a chronic
cough, as well as chest tightness. Unfortunately, some people avoid getting
diagnosed due to lack of awareness and the associated social stigma with
COPD. This causes many people to wait too long to get tested and often leads
to a late-stage diagnosis where people have already lost lung function.
One Man’s Story
Marathoner Russell Winwood had a difficult time coming to terms with his
diagnosis and found it challenging to move forward with his everyday routine.
He relied on the support of his family to keep going and, just six months
after his diagnosis, Winwood completed his first full Ironman. He continues
to participate in triathlons around the world. Winwood shares his personal
journey in hopes of inspiring other COPD patients to live an active
lifestyle, showing that a COPD diagnosis does not need to stop people from enjoying
their favorite activities.
What You Can Do
For recently diagnosed COPD patients, Winwood offers this advice for
• Knowledge: Understand
what it means to have COPD. Work with your doctor to create a customized
action plan to help track progress.
• Treatment: While
there’s no cure for COPD, there are many treatment options including
prescription drugs, positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy, portable oxygen
concentrators, and ventilation therapy that can help you maintain a better
quality of life. By researching and having a strong understanding of the
treatment options available, you can have a more educated conversation with
physicians about care plans.
• Nutrition: A healthy
diet is incredibly important for COPD patients as a poor diet can make
symptoms worse. The right nutrition can even help you breathe easier. Meet
with a nutritionist to gain an understanding of where your current diet
stands to help with your diagnosis.
• Exercise: Exercise can
help improve cardiorespiratory fitness levels by strengthening large muscle
groups within one’s body while also improving circulation. Find an
exercise that works for you and encourage friends and family to participate
If you suspect that you or a loved one may have COPD, head to your
physician for a spirometry test and visit www.Philips.com/WorldCOPDDay
for further information about COPD.
On the Net:North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.(NAPSI)