COPD, or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, is a lung disease that makes it hard for a person to breathe. At first, COPD may cause no symptoms or very mild symptoms like coughing, so people may ignore them thinking it’s not serious. But, eventually, the disease can make daily activities – like climbing stairs, cleaning the house, and even getting dressed – difficult.
If you suspect a loved one may have COPD, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute suggest these 6 tips in broaching the subject:
- Know what to look for to recognize the signs of COPD in your loved one. Shortness of breath, wheezing, or a chronic cough.
- Talk with your loved one about things they may be missing out on because of these symptoms, such as taking walks and playing with grandchildren.
- Talk with your loved one about how hard daily tasks like climbing stairs or grocery shopping have become for him or her, and suggest that it may be related to COPD.
- Encourage your loved one to schedule a visit with the doctor or healthcare provider. COPD can be diagnosed with a quick and painless breathing test called spirometry.
- Remind your loved one that the earlier a person receives treatment, the better the chances are to improve quality of life. There are many ways that the symptoms of the disease can be managed.
- Offer resources to help your loved one. Visit http://COPD.nhlbi.nih.gov to learn more about COPD and support groups in your loved one’s area.