Lung Association Offers Free Support for Coloradans Affected by COPD
New year, new plan takes on greater importance for 15.3 million Americans with COPD
(December 16, 2019) - DENVER
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“When I was diagnosed with COPD everything about my life seemed to change in an instant,” said Linda Regis, an American Lung Association Better Breathers Club member in Colorado Springs.
“From exercise and nutrition to medication and breathing techniques, it was as if I had to figure out a whole new way to live.”
Over 189,000 in Colorado live with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) a lung disease which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, and makes it more difficult to breathe over time. And while there's no cure for COPD, much can be done to treat and help manage the disease.
COPD is a challenging disease that sometimes stirs up difficult emotions in patients and their loved ones. While coping with COPD, many may feel depressed, sad and angry. That’s why the American Lung Association offers a free, strong support network for individuals and caretakers. This network includes respiratory therapists through the Lung HelpLine, online support communities, and Better Breathers Clubs: in-person adult support groups for individuals with chronic lung disease including COPD, pulmonary fibrosis and lung cancer, their family members, friends and caregivers. Find a local Better Breathers Club at Lung.org/better-breathers.
“Having a lung disease made me feel anxious, trapped. I found comfort in a support group online that helped me see I was not alone,” said Regis. “I have since had a double lung transplant, I will never forget the struggle of living with COPD. This is why I became a facilitator for the Better Breathers Club. To bring others together and know they are not alone.”
"I thought that what I was feeling was due to age. When I was diagnosed, I was already very severe, stage 4. It all happened so quickly. I couldn't walk 4 feet without gasping for air, within a year of diagnosis," said Wanda Coughlin, a Better Breathers Club facilitator in Colorado Springs. "After 4 years of struggling with COPD, and learning about my options, I was able to receive a lung volume reduction surgery. Life is much, much better these last five years. Very thankful to the American Lung Association, Pulmonary Rehabilitation, and my Facebook groups."
The American Lung Association encourages individuals with COPD and their loved ones to create a management plan for the new year with more attention focused on actions that can leave them feeling more rejuvenated and relaxed.
Consider these other steps below when creating this year’s COPD Management Plan with a healthcare provider:
- Mild or Moderate Exercise. It might seem odd that exercising improves shortness of breath — but it works. Even mild exercise can improve use of oxygen, energy levels, stress and depression, sleep and shortness of breath. Stretching, chair aerobics, resistance training and pulmonary rehabilitation help the heart send oxygen to the body, making it easier to breathe.
- Nutrition Modifications. Oxygen and food are the raw materials of metabolism, the process of changing food to fuel in the body. For some people with COPD, eating a diet with fewer carbohydrates and more fat helps them breathe easier. And eating four to six small meals a day enables the diaphragm to move freely and lets lungs fill with air and empty out more easily.
- Freedom From Smoking®. Smoke and secondhand smoke are triggers for individuals with COPD. Family and friends can help by not smoking indoors or around others. The American Lung Association’s proven quit smoking program is available at Lung.org/ffs or individuals can get free support from trained tobacco cessation counselors by calling the Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNGUSA.
- Breathing Techniques. Practicing deep-breathing exercises like Belly Breathing or Pursed Lip breathing can help relax the airways and resume normal breathing when an individual is experiencing shortness of breath.
For more information about COPD, and tips on how to better manage care, visit the American Lung Association website at Lung.org/copd or call the free Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872).
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
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