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4 Myths About COPD: There's Treatment and Help

4 Myths About COPD: There's Treatment and Help

If you’ve been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or think you have symptoms, you may have heard different things about the disease and what treatment is like. 

COPD isn't just one condition. Rather, it’s a group of pulmonary diseases. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the two most common conditions of COPD. 

These conditions cause a cough with mucus, tightness in your chest, difficulty breathing, and other symptoms. At The Beverly Hills Lung and Sleep Institute, our board-certified providers and experienced team treat COPD along with other lung and sleep-related issues. 

When it comes to your pulmonary health, we want you to have the facts. Let’s look at four myths about COPD and what the real truth is. 

Myth 1: If I don’t smoke I won’t get COPD

Fact: Though smoking tobacco is the leading cause of COPD, non-smokers may develop this disease as well.

Not all of the over 65 million people around the world with COPD are smokers. People who have been exposed to secondhand smoke can get COPD. 

Other factors that can also cause COPD include:

If you are a smoker who has been diagnosed with COPD, quitting smoking is the No. 1 thing you can do to prevent the disease from progressing and reduce your risk of death.

Myth 2: I can’t exercise if I have COPD

FACT: Even though breathing is more difficult with COPD, exercising improves your symptoms and overall health.

It may seem counterintuitive to exercise when breathing is difficult. However, working through this difficulty is very beneficial to people with COPD. Some benefits include:

If you wish to begin an exercise program, be sure to review your plans with your provider before starting. 

Myth 3: COPD only affects the lungs

Fact: COPD mainly affects your lungs, but it also affects other systems in your body. 

Because COPD limits the amount of oxygen you can take in, your entire body suffers. This limitation makes your heart work harder to provide your organs and body parts with an appropriate amount of oxygen. As a result, your risk of heart attack and heart disease is increased. 

Your ability to keep up with friends and family, as well as attend social functions, is reduced by the coughing and wheezing that accompany COPD and the general exhaustion you experience. This leads many patients with COPD to struggle with mental health disorders, such as depression, due to the social isolation they experience. 

Myth 4: COPD cannot be treated

FACT: While there is no cure for COPD yet, many different effective treatment options can improve breathing and manage symptoms.

At The Beverly Hills Lung and Sleep Institute, our providers specialize in helping patients with customized COPD treatment plans to improve their quality of life. COPD treatments vary based on your specific needs, but may include:

In severe cases, your provider may recommend surgery, such as a lung volume reduction or lung transplant. 

To find out more about COPD and what treatment might be right for you, contact us at The Beverly Hills Lung and Sleep Institute or request an appointment online today. 

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