For many people fighting chronic lung diseases like COPD, the hardest battles are not the physical ones, but the ones that happen inside the mind. Coping with a disease that disrupts your breathing—a basic life function—is far from easy, and it takes a major mental toll on many people with the disease.
Most people don’t put a lot of thought into the way that they get around. As humans, we learn to walk from a very young age and we use our basic motor skills all the time. So, for most people, it’s difficult to imagine being in a situation where these basic functions are impaired. However, for someone with COPD, problems with mobility, balance, and coordination can be a daily struggle. Healthy, functioning lungs are essential for physical exertion, no matter how little it may be.
Life is filled with unpredictability. Whether it’s a change to our daily routine or a life-changing event like a COPD diagnosis, staying on our toes is often the best way to maintain stability in our lives. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to deal with these changes. Sometimes, it can feel like you’re trying to play keep up rather than dealing with problems quickly and effectively as soon as they arise.
November is COPD awareness month, a time to come together and educate people of all backgrounds about the global impact of chronic bronchitis and emphysema. COPD awareness month is marked by an orange ribbon and can be observed in a number of different ways. Despite being the third leading cause of death in the United States, COPD suffers from a severe lack of awareness. According to a Health Union survey, only about 38 percent of patients were aware what COPD was or what its risk factors were before being diagnosed.
It seems like no matter where we go these days or what we’re doing, we’re always using technology. While several decades ago, it may have been possible to avoid using a cell phone or the internet, this becomes increasingly difficult as nearly everything around us is moving digital. According to the Pew Research Center, 95% of adults between the ages of 50 and 64 own a cell phone, and 79% of people in the same age group own smartphones. These numbers are only expected to increase over the years.
For most people, the beginning of fall is the perfect time to get out and enjoy the changing colors, the cool weather, and begin preparing for the holidays ahead. However, for some, the change of seasons is not always a positive thing. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a condition that affects about 5 percent of U.S. adults each year and it’s associated with depressive episodes that correlate with the change of seasons.
COPD effects more than just your lungs and how well you can breath. It also influences your mental state causing irrational behavior or mood swings, and can even lead to depression and anxiety.