People with chronic lung diseases fight for air while doing simple tasks. They struggle to stay physically active and risk early death. Chronic lung disease impairs lungs and leaves people feeling out of breath. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,  or COPD, is an umbrella term for lung diseases.

Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are familiar types of COPD. The condition is an under-diagnosed, life-threatening disease that currently affects 64 million people worldwide. Much more than a “smoker’s cough,” it will become the third leading cause of death by 2030. Tobacco use, indoor and outdoor air pollution and occupational dusts and chemicals are the primary risk factors.

Coping With Chronic Lung Disease

Living with a chronic lung disease is emotionally and physically challenging. Your daily routines and activities may need to be adjusted, sometimes radically, as breathing problems worsen or health care needs take priority in your life. Feelings of fear, anger and sadness are normal as you grieve for the loss of your old life and worry about what’s next for you and your family.

Share your feelings with your loved ones and your doctor. Talking openly may help you and your loved ones cope with the emotional challenges of your disease. In addition, clear communication will help you and your family plan effectively for your needs if your disease progresses.

Lung Disease Support

You may also want to consider joining a support group, where you can talk to people who are facing challenges similar to yours. Group members may share coping strategies, exchange information about new treatment or simply listen as you express your feelings. If a group isn’t for you, you may wish to talk with a counselor in a one-on-one setting.