Unfortunately, COPD gradually gets worse over time. Once symptoms start, if you continue to smoke, there is a typically a gradual decline over several years. In time, your mobility and quality of life may become poor due to increasing breathing difficulties. It is very important to do the obvious and stop smoking!
Here are some other ongoing concerns for people living with COPD:
- Smoking – smoking, after being diagnosed with COPD, will only make your symptoms worse as the disease gets worse. The lung damage that causes the symptoms of COPD does not heal and cannot be repaired.
- Sleep Problems – it is hard to get a good night’s rest when you are not getting enough oxygen into your lungs. The more damaged your lungs become, the harder it is to sleep throughout the night.
- Weight Issues – this depends on the part that weight is playing in your COPD symptoms. Loss of body cell mass is a common and serious problem for patients with end-stage COPD.
- Thinning Bones – osteoporosis is a health concern in people with COPD. Smoking and physical inactivity, especially in the later stages of COPD, can lead to bone loss.
- Anxiety – having trouble breathing can make you feel very anxious. As anxiety builds, it may contribute to severe breathlessness and even panic.
- Cancer – people with COPD are at risk for developing lung cancer. The more progressive the lung disease, the higher the risk.
There is no cure for COPD, but management of COPD can slow the progression of the disease and help relieve symptoms to keep individuals living with COPD – out of the hospital. If you or a loved one has COPD, there are steps to take to help cope with the lifestyle changes this disease brings.
If you are interested in participating in a clinical research study, including one for COPD, visit our STUDIES page to see a list of our currently enrolling studies.