How Can Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Cope Best With Their Illness?
In most instances of COPD, some irreversible damage has already occurred by the time the doctor diagnoses the disease. At this point, the patient and the family should learn as much as possible about the disease and how to live with it. The goals, limitations, and techniques of treatment must be understood by the patient so that symptoms can be kept under control, and daily living can proceed as normally as possible. The doctor and other health care providers are good sources of information about COPD education programs. Patients and family members can usually take part in educational programs offered at a hospital or by a local branch of the American Lung Association. Patients with COPD can help themselves in many ways. They can: • Stop smoking. Many programs are available to help smokers quit smoking and to stay off tobacco. Some programs are based on behavior modification techniques; others combine these methods with nicotine gum or nicotine patches as aids to help smokers gradually