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COPD Tip List for Talking to Loved Ones

When you think a loved one has COPD, what can you say? Plenty.

It's hard to watch someone you love miss out on so many good things in life because of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), don't just watch it happen. Say and do these six things now to help your loved one breathe better and get more out of life.

  1. Know the symptoms of COPD.
    Make note of those you recognize in your loved one. Symptoms can come on so gradually, that people with the disease often don't recognize how their lives are changing due to shortness of breath; wheezing, chronic cough, etc.
  2. You know they're missing out. Talk about it.
    Discuss with your loved one the good things in life they're missing out on because of their COPD symptoms—like taking walks and playing with grandchildren.
  3. Are daily tasks getting harder?
    Mention to your loved one that you notice how hard it is becoming for them to climb stairs, go grocery shopping, etc. Let them know that this may be related to COPD.
  4. Suggest an office visit.
    A doctor or health care provider can diagnose COPD with a simple breathing test called spirometry. It's quick, painless —and worth it.
  5. Encourage your loved one to be a good "manager".
    Once diagnosed, there are many ways that your loved one and their provider can manage the symptoms of COPD. The earlier a person receives treatment, the better their chances to improve quality of life.
  6. Offer resources to help.
    Go online with them to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's COPD Learn More Breathe Better campaign Web site http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/copd/index.htm to learn more about COPD and support group opportunities in their area.

 

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