Stages of COPD

By lucee89 Latest Activity January 20, 2012 at 6:59 pm Views 3,047 Replies 8 Likes 4


I have a good friend, whose parent was recently diagnosed with COPD. I'm hoping to learn more about the stages of COPD. Also, I want to support them during a rough time. What should I do to become a better friend? Anything I shouldn't do?

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Replies (8 replies)

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  • Lin~Texas
    Lin~Texas February 3, 2012 at 9:52 pm   

    Hi lucee89, and welcome! As a caregiver/care supporter, part of the burden is seeing that there are changes and not being able to do much about it, isn't it … your friend's parent should be encouraged to learn about the illness and about the ways that the illness can be managed. Some things are critically important and that's where you and your friend, as the care givers/supporters, might come in handy …

    If you can manage it, you and your friend should try to go with Parent to a doctor's appointment or Better Breathers Club (American Lung Association) meeting. If Parent's doc will refer through insurance or Medicare/Medicaid approval, encourage Parent to go to Respiratory Therapy/Pumonary Rehab {it is called different things in different parts of the country}. Why? Education … practical advice … diet … exercise, both caradio and muscular. That's where you and your friend come in … being encouraging and supportive - unless or until Parent decides to manage the disease, it may well progress more rapidly than it would otherwise.

    Typically, Therapy/Rehab is 12 weeks. After that, Parent will have to continue with his/her own post-therapy exercise program. Why the emphasis on exercise? Lungs need to be able to move oxyen out to the heart, other organs and through the body and the worse conditioning is, the harder that is. Also, o2 flows better through muscle than through fat, and strong bones are necessary no matter the illness. If you and your friend were to start a daily exercise program and include Parent, it might make it easier on everyone. I joined a Fitness Center and it's less than $20 per month. I spent far more than that on cigarettes in a week, let alone in a month. If y'all went together it could be supportive for all three of you!

    Which reminds me … If Parent smokes, encourage Parent to stop and if you and/or your Friend smoke, please stop now! It's not easy but it will be the one thing tht will enable Parent and y'all to begin on the path of COPD management.

    There are so many resources here on COPD Connect. Look under the Health Center and Living with COPD. Also, check out COPD Foundation and their manual, the Big Fat Reference Guide. There's so much to learn, but as Alec has said, it's not a death sentence.

    It's hard to try to say it all and help you in one 'Discussion.' Please let us know how we can help you and thank you for your care and consideration of your friend's parent!

  • Phonse65
    Phonse65 February 3, 2012 at 2:09 pm   

    Do not forget that COPD IS NOT A DEATH SENTENCE! I was diagnosed 6 or 7 years ago!

  • Phonse65
    Phonse65 February 3, 2012 at 2:07 pm   

    MY Bro said That & it's true!!! And I Love him!

  • chetsgirl
    chetsgirl January 24, 2012 at 11:12 pm   

    Thank you for this. I just found out recently that I also have COPD but do not know at what stage. All I know is that it is hard for me to breath at times and all my medical problems are not helping. Everytime I start feeling better, something else happens then I end up getting sick all over again.

  • Gemm
    Gemm January 23, 2012 at 12:22 pm   

    Welcome to COPD Connect lucee. It is great to see friends of people with COPD coming to find out information on helping those of us who have it.

    When I was diagnosed my doctor mentioned that there were 'stages' but that he prefers not to use them very much as each person presents differently, even within the same 'stage'. He said I would have been considered between stages 2 & 3 from both my symptoms and test results, and at the last testing this past summer closer to 3 and also 20% more loss of lung function that the original testing and that much closer to O2 at least part of the time.

    I agree with sheets that you are definitely on the right track in trying to help your friend and the parents in learning about and how to deal with COPD. This is a life-long disease and for you to continue that support will be a life-time commitment.

    What not to do? Don't try to do things for them that they can do for themselves, unless you are asked to. Let them know that you are there to help in any way you can and do check with them periodically but don't hover or impose in trying to be helpful. That can actually cause more stress than not being there at all and one thing we need to do is try to rid our lives of as much stress as we possibly can. Offer to help with shopping, meals etc but don't try to do it for them unless they ask. If you notice something that seems to bring on symptoms, especially environmental factors, a mention that you notice is okay but don't nag or harp on any issue. We know what bothers us and have to make choices sometimes between activities that bother us or no activities at all. Allow them to take the lead in any matters but always be open to talking to them, helping when asked and of course be there for your friend to help her/him unload their stress whenever that is needed. It can be very difficult trying to care for a parent with COPD or other chronic illness and sometimes just having someone to talk to and unload our stress is more helpful than anything else anyone can give us.

    GOOD LUCK and take advantage of our site to help you learn more about COPD and perhaps even bring your friend & the parent on-board if they aren't already here. There is a lot of information here as well as many many links to other articles and sites that can give much information on living with and treating COPD.

  • lucee89
    lucee89 January 23, 2012 at 4:23 pm   

    Thank you so much Gemm for your helpful advice! I will certainly refrain from imposing, and I truly hope that I can help unburden any stress.

  • sheets
    sheets January 21, 2012 at 6:10 pm   

    welcome lucee89,your on the right track,the people on this site are the most honest and caring friends i have ever had the pleasure to meet,i consider them family.i was diag. with stage 3 copd this year,so i started out finding everything i could about this disease,there is tons of information you can get from this site,but what has helped me the most is the people who has all ready walked that path before me, we share in each others joins as well of each others pain,as you learn more there are 4 stages to this disease,i myself dont dwell on that,because when i did,like i said i only had one stage left ,why try,the stage is just a tool so your doctor can come up with something, i myself know how i feel.,and as far as i know,god said he can and will heal me and anyone else that just ask and beleive,i,m a true beleiver ,that each of us has the power to make us well as we do to make are self sick,what i mean is,if you set around all day saying i,m sick and i never will get well,if you trueing beleive that,there is no doctor in the word that can help you,pleas note,this is only my opinion,welcome to the site,and pleas stay in touch, god bless

  • lucee89
    lucee89 January 23, 2012 at 4:24 pm   

    Thank you sheets - will try to refer my friend to this great community.

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