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A Life with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Updated on March 24, 2015

COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

The leading causes of COPD are chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Both damage air ways in the lungs. Coughing becomes persistent and breathing is harder to manage. Cigarette smoking is blamed for most cases. Second hand smoke is nearly as bad for you as smoking the tobacco yourself.

Air pollution, occupational chemicals and dust particles can block your air ways and also lead to COPD. We must pay close attention to our air quality. Face mask could be our only protection when we are not able to avoid certain pollutants such as sawdust, coal dust, feed dust, animal dander, and chemical fumes.

Early signs of COPD can be fatigue, shortness of breath and chronic coughing. It will worsen in time. By the time most people know they have it, it has already become advanced with problems common treatment offers little help for.

COPD is not what any of us bargain for and often times it is linked to other ailments such as heart problems and certain cancers. Stop smoking, stay clear of poor air quality and see your doctor if you suspect you have COPD.


Living with COPD

Many COPD patients depend on oxygen therapy. An oxygen meter to keep track of your levels and a steady supply of oxygen is needed. Levels should be near 100. Every organ in our body needs 20% of our oxygen to function properly and without it our body is in great danger of shutting down. Your health professional with advise you on exactly how much oxygen you need. Most gauges run up to 5L, but there are some that can deliver more. You will want a portable unit as well as a home oxygen concentrator. Most insurance companies will help you pay for this very expensive necessity, but not all of them will contribute much. You may want to purchase your own rather than pay a high rental charge.

Power outages are often unpredicted. If you are continuously dependent on your oxygen from your home concentrator, you will want a portable unit where you have easy access to it as well. Some battery operated ones have been known to malfunction so a portable tank type may be a wiser choice for emergencies or travel. Be cautious when storing oxygen tanks and be sure to keep them where there is less danger of them being disturbed. Cool dry areas are best and keep it away from open flames or heat sources.

COPD patients must avoid getting colds or flu. Vaccines for both flu and pneumonia are highly recommended by health care professionals. Family members should be cautious, too, as to not bring any viruses into your living space if you have COPD. A battle with even the common cold can be a battle of life or death to a COPD patient.

Rescue inhalers, nebulizers, and oxygen therapy are needed to treat COPD. Certain medicines and pulmonary rehabilitation will help. Exercises designed to help with breathing problems have been effective for some people to have fewer episodes in which they are short of breath. Pulmonary rehab may also include a diet change. Eating healthy benefits all sorts of activities. Breathing will be easier if your body weight is normal and your energy levels are high.

Never give up.

Nicotine is a monster. It has control over its victim as much as any other addiction out there and it robs people of precious life. It is on every street corner and it affects everyone. It doesn’t matter how pricey or how much tax is put on tobacco. People will get it somehow. Addictions need help. If you can’t do it by yourself, get help. There are a number of ways to quit. Ask your doctor for help.

If you are still smoking and are now faced with COPD, please don’t give up. Find a way to stop smoking. There are so many plans out there that work. Smoking will make COPD worse and can shorten your life as it takes your breath away. Don’t think because the damage is already done you are doomed. You can look forward to breathing freely once more for years to come if you stop smoking now. Treatments for COPD are helpful, but smoking can undo any good the treatment has done. Don’t let it control your life any longer. Don’t let your family have to worry about losing you so soon to COPD. Save a life. Save you.


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    • Diana Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana L Pierce 

      3 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      Thank you, alexadry. It's so hard to believe that Bill has been gone almost a year and harder yet to think that a small thing like leaving the cigarettes alone could had saved his life. All those years I smoked, I hope don't give me many health issues. I'm so glad I finally quit. It's been over three years now. The best thing I ever did.

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 

      3 years ago

      Had a friend with this condition, and it sure had a negative impact on her life. So sorry for your husband.

    • Diana Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana L Pierce 

      4 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      Thank you, aviannovice, for stopping by. It is sad we deal with breathing harmful toxins everyday without given it any thought as to what it is really doing to us.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      This is definitely a reality check for all. What used to be popular and thought harmless is one of the biggest killers in the annals of time, except cancer. Sadly, cancer is exacerbated by the chemicals that surround us in the air(pesticides) and in our food.

    • Diana Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana L Pierce 

      4 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      Thank you, Frank. I appreciate your input.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      4 years ago from Shelton

      Diana what a detail stay positive type of hub.. I don't think I know anyone who suffers from this.. but with all disease.. positive thinking voted up and useful

    • Diana Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana L Pierce 

      4 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      Thanks for stopping by, Minnetonka Twin. I lost my husband a couple weeks before Christmas in 2014. He had spent his last year fighting COPD as well as Congestive heart failure. His biggest obstacle was cigarette smoking which he could not stay completely away from. He was only 63. I'm glad you were able to survive the lung cancer. That is a cruel disease as well. I lost my brother to it in 2003. First handed knowledge of dealing with certain conditions seem to make for good reading. I hope I can help someone out there with what I know.

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 

      4 years ago from Minnesota

      I know a few people with COPD and know how tricky it can be. I can relate to lung issues as a lung cancer survivor (who never smoked). I am sure the heavy smoking my parents did was the culprit for getting lung cancer. Second- Hand smoke like you said, can be just as bad as smoking. They removed my middle lobe of the right lung, so I have times when I have to catch my breath. It's such a scary feeling when you don't have enough air in your lungs. Thanks for an informative and helpful hub on COPD.


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