COPD Can Be Stressful

October 15, 2012

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, sometimes referred to as COPD, is a serious lung condition that makes it difficult for people with it to breathe.  It is the third most common cause of death in the United States.  COPD was expected to move into the third most common cause of death by 2020, but it has arrived early as other causes have been going down.

To help increase awareness of COPD, Bronson Battle Creek has been offering a series of quarterly presentations on Tuesday afternoons.  This last session for 2012, titled ‘Learning to Cope with a Chronic Lung Disease’ is scheduled for November 6, from 2-3:30 p.m. in the hospital’s Outpatient Conference Rooms 1 & 2.  

The program is free to the public, but reservations are required because seating is limited.  To receive more information or to register for this program, call toll free 
1-877-462-2247.

Dr. James Gandy, a board-certified psychiatrist, will serve as the keynote speaker.  His presentation, which coincides with National COPD Awareness Month, will help to identify the signs of stress, depression, and anxiety with chronic lung disease.  Following the program there will be a short time for general questions and support. 

“Living with a serious chronic lung disease can be extremely stressful for not only patients, but also for their loved ones,” says Dr. Gandy.  “However by working with your physician and making some lifestyle changes, you can manage chronic lung diseases, and symptoms can often be improved.”

The term COPD is used to describe two related lung disorders--chronic bronchitis and emphysema.  If you have COPD, you have one or both of these conditions.  With bronchitis, the walls of the passages that carry air to your lungs become swollen and scarred.  Emphysema destroys the sacs in the lungs that release air.   Pulmonary fibrosis is a restrictive lung disease with decreasing volumes and lung stiffness.  

COPD makes it more difficult to breathe because your air passages get smaller and your air sacs cannot empty.  Your airways may also become clogged with mucus, which comes up when you cough. 

Living well with COPD 
Although there is no known cure for COPD, there are several things you can do to manage it and improve your quality of life.  Early detection of the disease is important; it lets you begin to take steps to keep COPD from progressing. 

To help manage the disease: 
Stop smoking. No matter how old you are, it is crucial that you give up cigarettes.  Even if you are 75, stopping smoking will help you feel better.

Follow your doctor's advice about medications. You may be given bronchodilators to help open airways, corticosteroids to reduce inflammation in lungs and airways, or antibiotics to fight bacterial infections that make COPD worse. 

Talk to your physician about whether using an oxygen tank might help you breathe better. 

Make certain the air in your home is clean and free of smoke and fumes. 

Ask your doctor about breathing exercises that can help you when you are having trouble catching your breath. 

Eat healthful foods, maintain a healthful weight, and stay as physically active as you can.

For more information, call Deborah Pierce, RRT, pulmonary rehabilitation (269) 245-8438.  

Bronson Battle Creek is a 218-bed hospital that provides full outpatient and inpatient acute care including robotic surgery, diagnostics, and rehabilitation services; 100% all private rooms.  It also offers world-class diagnostic capabilities including PET/CT imaging, freestanding ‘open’ and traditional MRI, CT (16- and 64-slice), and 3.0 Tesla MRI.  Bronson Battle Creek has been recognized nationally as one of the safest hospitals, and has been a leader in the development of electronic health records as evidenced by multiple honors as one of America’s ‘most wired’ and ‘most wireless’ hospitals. The Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons recognizes the Bronson Battle Creek Cancer Care Center as a Comprehensive Community Cancer Program, and the only hospital in Michigan to receive the CoC’s Outstanding Achievement Award three times in a row. Specialty services include the county’s largest accredited sleep center and a wound-healing center with hyperbaric oxygen therapy.


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