Like any illness, COPD is not devoid of misconception. There are a number of COPD myths that are completely false and not backed by scientific research. But like any popular myth, the fact that the information you are hearing bears little resemblance to the truth does little to stop it from being passed around, either by word-of-mouth or over the internet. If you have COPD, it is important that you not buy into these fallacies and instead educate yourself about the facts so that you can then educate others.
Let's take a look at some of the most common myths surrounding COPD and finally debunk them:
Chances are, when you were initially diagnosed with COPD, you went into shock. You may have even asked your doctor "am I going to die" or "how long do I have to live." While it is important to understand there are factors that influence COPD life expectancy, certain lifestyle changes and treatment, including smoking cessation, medications, diet and exercise, can alter the course of the disease.
Yes, exercise may be more difficult than it used to be once you are diagnosed with COPD, but this does not mean you should not exercise, even if it makes you short of breath. Exercising is one of the best ways to increase your self-esteem, improve your health status, feel better overall, and live a higher quality of life.
Did you know that your weight and the foods you eat are directly related to the amount of energy you have? And that people with COPD require as much as 10 times the energy of a healthy person to breathe? That means a person with COPD may require more calories than a healthy person (though not as much as 10 times more). A healthy diet not only gives you the energy you need to breathe, but it helps prevent COPD exacerbation and malnutrition, two common complications of COPD.
Wrong! Many couples avoid sexual intimacy alltogether because they fear that dyspnea will render them unable to complete the act. While it is true that people with COPD often get more winded during sex than they did before, there are steps you can take and easy sex positions you can try that will help you maintain intimacy with your partner.
Gone is the perception that COPD occurrs more predominantly in men. In fact, the year 2000 marked the first year that more women than men died from the disease. This trend is likely to continue and rise, as the number of female smokers has also increased in recent years.
Unfortunately, COPD is an irreversible process. Once diagnosed, the damage is done and the lungs do not repair themselves. But smoking cessation is the best way to slow the progression of the disease and increase survival in people with COPD. Benefits of quitting begin almost immediately after putting out your last cigarette.