This site & the information contained herein firstname.lastname@example.org
2005 - 2015
If you've recently been diagnosed, and even if you browse no further, READ THE POINTS BELOW and the open letters written to you by fellow COPDer's. But; above all remember..
You're NOT ALONE! and you don't need to feel like you are.
This will constantly be stressed throughout this site because when you first find out that you have COPD that's what you're undoubtedly thinking. (Remember: There's 750,000 "physician diagnosed" cases here in Canada and probably that many again "undiagnosed or "misdiagnosed."
There ARE Things You Can Do
Stop Smoking if you've not already done so. This will slow down the progression of the disease.
Ensure you have the latest and best meds for your disease symptoms. If you don't know what they are, do some homework, or ASK your Dr. (Great advances have been made with medicines for help with the symptoms of COPD...i.e. Symbicort and Spiriva)Take your meds regularly; not just when you're feeling bad. (It's like pain medicine....it's harder to get pain under control after the fact than it is to get a jump start on it)
Exercise; walk, walk, walk! Even if you can only go a few feet to begin. Do it again and add another step next time. (Reason: The more fit you are, the less demand or need you muscles have for oxygen. This means you'll function better with the day to day things. Some good exercises for COPDer's can be found at this site.If you've never been tested but are being treated for COPD, even asthma........ASK for a spirometry test. A PFT would be nice but start with the spirometry at the very least.
Ask for copies of your PFT or Spirometry reports for your records and keep them. Learn to interpret the test findings.Avoid people with colds. Forget about embarrassing them. This could be the difference between life and death.
Keep your hands clean. Regularly wash with soap and water and do what many do; carry hand sanitizer and use it frequently when you're away from home. Your family must as well.Avoid crowds; particularly in the winter months during the peak of cold and flu season. This doesn't mean you stop going out or socializing but simply means you should be more cautious. (Do you really need to go to that huge, crowded concert in the middle of January?)
Get a flu shot and a pneumonia vaccine. (If it's not offered or suggested, ask for it)If you're overweight, try to loose some. If you're underweight try to put some weight on.
Try to maintain a social circle of friends you're comfortable with and get out if/when you can.If you're severely depressed and it lasts for an extended period of time....see your Dr. A mild anti depressant can make a big difference.
If you think you're catching something, if your mucus changes, or if you have increased shortness of breath or if you're coughing more; even if you're not "feeling" well....see your Dr. Don't wait. Forget about the concerns of being a hypochondriac. Things can change very quickly; especially after a recent bacterial infection.Always carry your rescue puffer
Ask your Dr. about having an antibiotic on hand at home and under what circumstances or situations you should begin them. You must still get in to see the Dr asap.
Join us - we're patients helping patients
For those of us who have the disease we remember all to well the thoughts that raced through our minds. The biggest, just after being told we had this disease, was the thought of death and the feeling that we didn't have much time. However; there are many people who are, and have, lived with this disease for many years and coped quite well. But; to be one of the multitude, you have to become active and pro active when it comes to your illness.
Live, Learn and for Heaven sakes......Speak Up! You must be your own advocate!
Too much responsibility and emphasis with this disease is placed on our family Dr.'s . They CAN'T be experts at everything and there simply isn't enough specialists to go around. Help them and yourself, by learning.
There's no reason for you to let this disease control your life; it doesn't have to be that way. With the right attitude, support network, efforts on your part, medicines and Dr., you can learn to control "it"!
This page was last updated January 9th, 2010