Her dear friend’s last words to her were:
“This is horrible, I can’t breathe, I don’t want to suffer like this”. She went on to say: “If you smoke and have COPD, let me describe to you what it’s like to live with COPD” [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease].”
“Pinch your nose, and put a bar straw, in your mouth. That’s one of the tiny straws they give you to stir a mixed drink. Now pinch your nose and only breathe in an out through the straw. Don’t cheat.”
“NOW, walk up and down the stairs about 3 or for times, Walk up and down a driveway, remember breathe only through the tiny straw. That’s what moving around and breathing is like for someone with COPD. It’s living hell! Supplemental oxygen doesn’t help much, and the medications only work during the early stages.”
“I have lived eleven years breathing like this. NO, I never thought this would happen to me, but it did, and it WILL probably happen to you too if you continue to smoke. SO IF YOU SMOKE STOP, do whatever you can to STOP, just STOP.
Although I have taken the liberty of modifying my friend’s statements slightly, sharing her personal comments hopefully brings a greater appreciation of the seriousness of having chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (a condition which most often the result of smoking and/or exposure to air-borne chemicals).
Internationally, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the one of the leading cause of death (vying with HIV) and it is the third leading cause of death in the United States. There was a time that individuals were not aware of the dangers of smoking and as these people age, their rates of death from COPD are on the increase. Additionally, people are living longer, so more patients experience physical declines leading to disability and often, premature death.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is the result of the walls of the alveoli, the balloon-like air sacks of the lungs becoming stiff and losing the ability to transfer oxygen from the lungs to the blood stream. Also inflammatory mucus is produced in large amounts which blocks air from moving through the lung’s air passages.
Until recently, pulmonologists (lung doctors), did not recognize COPD as being caused by inflammation. They are now convinced thatparticulates in cigarette smoke and other airborne chemicals trigger immune, inflammatory cells to “clean-up” the toxic materials. [Please see previous article on smoking.]
Over time, the inflammatory responses of the body destroy healthy lung tissue resulting in labored breathing, along with a greater susceptibility to frequent respiratory infections.
Unfortunately people with COPD treated with inhaled steroids are at greater risk of getting pneumonia and other respiratory diseases. Additionally, individuals with HIV have greater decreases in lung function than individuals without COPD.
When a person has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, their lungs suffer from unchecked inflammation. Control the amount of inflammation being produced, and their quality of life will change for the better.
If you want to change how you feel, contact Dr. Hellen. There are no fees for the first 30 minutes of consultation. She may be contacted by using this form or calling: 302.265.3870 (ET, USA).