COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Living With COPD
COPD can be managed, although it cannot be cured at this time. When you manage COPD, you:
Quitting smoking is the most important step you can take to prevent or slow damage to your lungs—it is never too late to stop smoking.
There are clear benefits to quitting, even after years of smoking. When you stop smoking, you slow down the damage to your lungs. For most people who quit, loss of lung function is slowed to the same rate as a nonsmoker's.
Although lung damage that already has occurred does not reverse, quitting smoking can slow down how quickly your COPD symptoms get worse.
You may think that nothing can help you quit. But today there are several treatments shown to be very good at helping people stop smoking. They include:
You will double your chances of quitting even if medicine is the only treatment you use to quit, but your odds get even better when you combine medicine and other quit strategies, such as counseling.1
For more information, see the topic Quitting Smoking.
Make breathing easier
Do all you can to make breathing easier.
Good nutrition is important to keep up your strength and health. Problems with muscle weakness and weight loss are common in people with severe COPD. People with COPD who are very underweight, especially those with emphysema, are at higher risk of early death than are people with COPD who have a normal weight.5
Seek education and support
Treating more than the disease and its symptoms is very important. You also need:
If your disease gets worse, you may want to think about palliative care. Palliative (say "PAL-ee-uh-tiv") care is a kind of care for people who have illnesses that do not go away and often get worse over time. It is different from treating your illness.
Palliative care may help you to:
Palliative care may also help your family better understand your disease and how to support you.
If you are interested in palliative care, talk to your doctor. He or she may be able to manage your care or refer you to a doctor who specializes in this type of care.
For more information, see the topic Palliative Care.
Doctors are getting better and better at helping people with COPD live longer. But it is a disease that gets worse and can be fatal. Many important end-of-life decisions can be made while you are still able to communicate your wishes.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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