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Living with COPD

By AJ Murphy

What is COPD?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung disease. It develops slowly over time. And it may cause you to have a hard time breathing. We’ll show you how to take a little extra care of yourself. And help you live a healthier, more active life.

Symptoms of COPD are different for everyone, but common symptoms include:

  • Increased shortness of breath
  • Frequent coughing (with and without mucus)
  • Increased breathlessness
  • Wheezing
  • Tightness in the chest

Managing your COPD

Our Chronic Care Management Program can help you take care of your COPD. You should tell your doctor if you have lung disease. And we’ll find out if you’re at high risk for COPD. If you are at high risk, a care manager will give you a call and talk to you about treatment options. If you smoke, you should quit immediately. Ask your doctor for help.

Treatment is different for everyone. Some members might need medication. Others might need oxygen therapy. You can learn more about managing your COPD by calling Member Services. Just ask to talk to a COPD manager.

Feel better

There are ways you can take care of your COPD. These can help slow down the damage to your lungs. You can try:

  • Controlling your breathing. Your primary care physician (PCP) can show you breathing techniques to help you get through your day.
  • Clearing your airways. Controlling your coughing, drinking lots of water and using a humidifier can help clear your airways. This can help you breathe better.
  • Exercising regularly. Exercising can help strengthen the muscles you use to breathe. And it can promote overall endurance.
  • Eating healthy foods. A well-rounded diet can help keep you healthy and strong.
  • Avoiding smoke and air pollution. Stay away from places where people smoke. If you’re a smoker, you should stop smoking right away. Your doctor can prescribe medication to help you.
  • Seeing your doctor regularly. Keep all your appointments. Your PCP will help keep track of your lung function. They’ll also help you avoid infections that could lead to pneumonia.

About the author

AJ Murphy is an evocative young writer who grew up in Boston's Charlestown neighborhood. AJ began his writing career at Alaska Ice Rinks Inc. in Anchorage, AK, where he also drove a Zamboni and took care of outdoor hockey rinks.

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