More than 11 million Americans live with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but the numbers affected by this serious, chronic lung disease are far more reaching.
A diagnosis of COPD, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, comes with many physical and emotional challenges that can affect the person’s family and circle of friends.
This November, during COPD Awareness Month, we honor the millions of American directly and indirectly affected by this disease. From chronic cough and shortness of breath to fatigue and wheezing, it is difficult to breathe with COPD and over time symptoms and flare-ups worsen. But with a strong support network, COPD can be managed so that individuals can live full and active lives.
Incorporate your physician and caregiver into your support team, and involve them in your COPD Management Plan. Family and friends may not know how to help, but trust me – they want to! Allow others to help with tasks around the house, and ask for help when you need it. And the support and understanding from others in similar situations can be hugely beneficial.
American Lung Association Better Breathers Clubs are in-person support groups for individuals with chronic lung disease that give you the tools you need to live the best quality of life you can. Find a Better Breathers Club near you at Lung.org/better-breathers.
Together, we can live healthier and full lives.
Ellen Penrod, Executive Director, American Lung Association in Colorado