1-MYTH: Severe COPD Is A Death Sentence
FACT:You can’t reverse severe COPD, but it doesn’t mean your life is over, either. People who stop smoking, get plenty of exercise, and take good care of themselves often have a good prognosis, says Dr. Edelman. With the right medication and lifestyle changes, you can manage your COPD and live an active life.
2-MYTH: COPD Happens Only To Older People
FACT:People are often diagnosed with COPD in their 50s and 60s. However, these diagnoses are relatively late, when symptoms are so pronounced they can no longer be ignored, says Dr. Edelman. In fact, COPD can begin in your 40s (and in rare cases your 20s and 30s).
3-Myth: COPD and asthma are the same.
Fact: While many symptoms of COPD and asthma are alike — coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath — they’re not identical. One key difference is people with COPD usually experience symptoms around the clock, while asthma sufferers only have attacks when environmental conditions trigger them.
4-MYTH: Shortness Of Breath Is The Main Symptom
FACT:People with COPD can also have coughing, wheezing, and a tight feeling in their chest, but shortness of breath is often the first sign. They may feel winded going up stairs or realize they need to catch their breath more than others. People with COPD tend to be more susceptible to frequent colds and are likely to struggle with recurring bouts of the flu.
5-MYTH: Exercise Is Impossible If You Have Severe COPD
FACT:Shortness of breath can make exercise more difficult. But exercise is an important part of treating COPD. According to Dr. Edelman, exercise doesn’t change the lungs. Instead, it improves the way the heart pumps blood and muscles take oxygen out of the blood, making the whole system more efficient.
6-MYTH: COPD Is Rare
FACT:The sad fact is COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. after heart disease, cancer, and stroke. It turns out your lungs are a precious resource — just like your heart — and need to be protected throughout your life. Just like heart disease, Severe COPD can be silent for many years, until it’s nearly too late.
7-MYTH:COPD Is Incurable
FACT:COPD isn’t curable, but it is treatable. You can’t reverse the damage to lung tissue, but you can slow down the destruction and manage the Severe COPD. The best thing a smoker can do is quit, and everyone should try to prevent infections. Get a flu shot and a pneumonia vaccine.
9-MYTH:Early Diagnosis Helps
FACT:It is crucial to catch Severe COPD early to prevent more damage to the lungs. Most people blame shortness of breath on aging or being out of shape. Barry Make, M.D., a pulmonologist and codirector of the COPD program at National Jewish Health, in Denver, says people often realize they can’t perform activities like they used to; walking on the golf course or carrying
10-MYTH: It’s Too Late To Quit Smoking
FACT:It is never too late to quit smoking and potentially ward off COPD, says Dr. Make. Even if you’ve already been diagnosed with Severe COPD, don’t give up the quitting-smoking battle. (Most smokers will tell you they thought they could never quit, but just kept trying until they finally succeeded.)
11-MYTH: COPD Only Affects The Lungs
FACT:COPD can also cause high blood pressure and can increase your risk of heart disease. As with any chronic, incurable disease, depression often comes into play, too. The right medication, lifestyle changes, and emotional support can help you deal with these COPD-related issues.
12-Myth: COPD is only contracted by men.
Fact: Of the more than 12 million Americans who have been diagnosed with Severe COPD, slightly more than half are women. The condition affects both genders.
13-Myth: Breathlessness is simply a sign of aging.
Fact: While this is partially true, breathlessness could be a symptom of something serious. If you experience Severe COPD symptoms, don’t ignore them. Talk to your doctor as soon as possible and ask about being tested for the disease.
14-Myth: A sedentary lifestyle is fine.
Fact: While being inactive helps you avoid breathlessness, it’s important to get up and moving to live a happy, active life with Severe COPD. The more you do, the more energy you’ll have for the daily tasks and pastimes you truly enjoy.