How to Explain COPD To Friends and Family

 

Commercials for COPD treatments are aired on television all the time nowadays, but still, COPD is a disease that’s not well understood by the average person. If you’ve been diagnosed recently and you’re trying to explain to friends and loved ones just what COPD is, here’s a primer:

Probably least helpful is the actual name that COPD stands for: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Most people will respond, internally at least, with: “Great… What?”

Here’s a visual description: COPD is a thickening of the airways in the lungs, and also destruction of the lung tissue where oxygen is exchanged. So, it’s harder than normal to get air into and out of the lungs, and even when air does get in, the lung tissue doesn’t do a good job exchanging the oxygen from that air and getting it into your bloodstream. The added problem is that carbon dioxide, the body’s waste gas, doesn’t get removed as well either.

All of this results in shortness of breath, which gets more pronounced as the disease gets worse.

COPD sometimes is called chronic bronchitis or emphysema, but some doctors believe that chronic bronchitis could be present without the airway obstruction characteristic of COPD.

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6 Comments
  • Avatar
    Nan (Nnette) Werley
    Posted at 01:20h, 03 August Reply

    Thank you Dr. Cassabury and all of you for the work you do. I would very much receiving your newsletter.
    Thank you.
    Nan Werley

    • Avatar
      PERF Webmaster
      Posted at 15:48h, 18 August Reply

      Thank you so much for the positive feedback! We’ve added you to our email list so you’ll continue to receive news of our latest blog posts.

  • Avatar
    David Johnson
    Posted at 14:25h, 31 July Reply

    Thanks for explaining simply that COPD is the thickening of airways in the lungs and also the destruction of lung tissue. One of my friends has bad breathing problems, but we haven’t determined what it is. I’ll have to look into a physician practice that can help treat COPD.

    • Avatar
      PERF
      Posted at 11:18h, 02 August Reply

      Dear David,

      The world could use more good friends like you! There is so much more we could tell you, and your friend, but the most important is to find a pulmonologist, a doctor who specializes in breathing problems, to find out what is going on. There are many things that can cause breathing problems but the fact that his problems are “bad” is concerning. If he has a primary care physician, start there by asking for a referral. If there is a local Medical Center it also would have listings of pulmonologists. You could look through to find one near you, if possible. Please don’t let your friend put this off!

      If you have other specific questions don’t hesitate to write back. We will do our best to help.

      Best wishes,

      Mary Burns, RN, BS

  • Avatar
    Darlene Browning
    Posted at 04:46h, 07 June Reply

    About every 4 to 6 months I end up with a bad episode which ends me in the ICU unit at our local hospital when the EMT s arrive my oxygen levels are below 50percent.about a week in they graduate me outta ICU upstairs they discharge me with continued support of staeroids tappered down.andbthe cycle begins again a few months go by and I begin struggling with my breathing for a CPL weeks continued support of my nebulizer treatments around the clock.

    • Avatar
      PERF
      Posted at 17:26h, 07 June Reply

      Dear Darlene,

      This is such an upsetting story! I am so sorry to hear about all your problems. Are you seeing a pulmonologist? If not, get a referral to one as soon as possible. If there is none where you live contact the nearest University or Lung Association, for a referral. In the pre-COVID era, I would also recommend that you find a local pulmonary rehabilitation program. Pulmonary rehabilitation is one of the best programs to help prevent frequent flare-ups. You can find more information on local pulmonary rehabilitation program here: http://www.livebetter.org/. There IS help available, but your problems are too complicated to be answered by any advice you find on the internet. Again, I would strongly urge you to see a pulmonologist.

      With best wishes that you soon find the help you need,

      Mary Burns, RN, BS

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6 Comments
  • Avatar
    Nan (Nnette) Werley
    Posted at 01:20h, 03 August Reply

    Thank you Dr. Cassabury and all of you for the work you do. I would very much receiving your newsletter.
    Thank you.
    Nan Werley

    • Avatar
      PERF Webmaster
      Posted at 15:48h, 18 August Reply

      Thank you so much for the positive feedback! We’ve added you to our email list so you’ll continue to receive news of our latest blog posts.

  • Avatar
    David Johnson
    Posted at 14:25h, 31 July Reply

    Thanks for explaining simply that COPD is the thickening of airways in the lungs and also the destruction of lung tissue. One of my friends has bad breathing problems, but we haven’t determined what it is. I’ll have to look into a physician practice that can help treat COPD.

    • Avatar
      PERF
      Posted at 11:18h, 02 August Reply

      Dear David,

      The world could use more good friends like you! There is so much more we could tell you, and your friend, but the most important is to find a pulmonologist, a doctor who specializes in breathing problems, to find out what is going on. There are many things that can cause breathing problems but the fact that his problems are “bad” is concerning. If he has a primary care physician, start there by asking for a referral. If there is a local Medical Center it also would have listings of pulmonologists. You could look through to find one near you, if possible. Please don’t let your friend put this off!

      If you have other specific questions don’t hesitate to write back. We will do our best to help.

      Best wishes,

      Mary Burns, RN, BS

  • Avatar
    Darlene Browning
    Posted at 04:46h, 07 June Reply

    About every 4 to 6 months I end up with a bad episode which ends me in the ICU unit at our local hospital when the EMT s arrive my oxygen levels are below 50percent.about a week in they graduate me outta ICU upstairs they discharge me with continued support of staeroids tappered down.andbthe cycle begins again a few months go by and I begin struggling with my breathing for a CPL weeks continued support of my nebulizer treatments around the clock.

    • Avatar
      PERF
      Posted at 17:26h, 07 June Reply

      Dear Darlene,

      This is such an upsetting story! I am so sorry to hear about all your problems. Are you seeing a pulmonologist? If not, get a referral to one as soon as possible. If there is none where you live contact the nearest University or Lung Association, for a referral. In the pre-COVID era, I would also recommend that you find a local pulmonary rehabilitation program. Pulmonary rehabilitation is one of the best programs to help prevent frequent flare-ups. You can find more information on local pulmonary rehabilitation program here: http://www.livebetter.org/. There IS help available, but your problems are too complicated to be answered by any advice you find on the internet. Again, I would strongly urge you to see a pulmonologist.

      With best wishes that you soon find the help you need,

      Mary Burns, RN, BS

Post A Reply to PERF Cancel Reply

PERF doesn't share your information with anyone