Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) affects more than 12 million people in the United States, making it hard for them to breath or live a quality life. In the end stages, COPD can lead to death in a very unpleasant way. Although the risk is highest for people who smoke, COPD can also develop from second-hand smoke, working in jobs around dust or fumes, or even from a genetic trait. The goal is to catch it as early as possible.
COPD continually progresses over time. What starts as an occasional cough can become more frequent, and simple things like taking the stairs or mowing the lawn can become too difficult. People with COPD often become more sedentary, which just makes the problem worse. Instead, people with COPD need to be up and active, exercise the heart and lungs and maximizing the capacity they have.
Unfortunately, COPD cannot be cured, or even improved. It only progresses or stays the same. With professional pulmonary rehab, people with COPD can combine regimented exercise with lifestyle adjustments and the right medications to achieve a much better quality of life while keeping the disease at bay. People can keep the COPD from progressing and learn how to live an active and happy life.
On this episode, Jan Pistole, RN, CEN, cardiopulmonary rehab coordinator, and Tim Schultz, RTT, director of respiratory care, join the Pulse to discuss the disease, how it affects the body, and how it can be managed.