What is COPD, what often causes the disease, and how can one best cope with it once diagnosed? Carla Sanders recently answered these questions in a series of concise articles on COPD, “Life Strategies – Fighting for Breath,” published in the Senior Solutions & Health section of the Daily Breeze last February 15.
She quotes Dr. Zab Mosenifar, Executive Vice-Chair of Medicine and Co-Medical Director of Women’s Guild Lung Institute at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, as saying that patients with COPD may have to lower their expectations about their activities, but they can still live a full life. A positive attitude, he says, is key – the disease must be dealt with, but must not be allowed to take over one’s life.
Support groups are extremely beneficial in maintaining a strong outlook. Breathing Buddies, a support group founded in 1996 by Mary Barnett, a registered nurse and president of the Respiratory Disease Management Institute, is one such group. Says Dr. Brian Tiep, Director of Rehabilitation at City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte and Medical Director for the Respiratory Disease Management Institute in Upland, “Support groups… let those with COPD know they are not alone… It can actually improve the quality of their lives.”
The good news? California is among the states with the lowest rates of COPD, with 4.4 percent of the population suffering from the disease.
For a listing of support groups in your area, we suggest starting with COPD International’s online listing of COPD support groups throughout the world. Please note that some of the listings may be out of date, so please first check with the group before planning to attend a meeting.