The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Millions of people live with chronic, life changing conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases, fibromyalgia and COPD, just to name a few. At the Lung Institute, we understand how challenging, frightening and frustrating living with chronic conditions can be. For people with chronic lung diseases, such as COPD, pulmonary fibrosis, emphysema and others, breathing as well as daily activities can become difficult. We’ve come up with 5 things someone with lung disease wants you to know.
5. Doing Simple Things Takes Twice as Long
Simple and daily tasks, such as getting up, and getting washed and dressed, can leave a person with a chronic lung disease feeling short of breath or fatigued. Walking and cooking are other activities that can cause difficulties. Many people need to rest between activities or while walking. Keep in mind that people who are living with lung disease still want their independence.
What can you do? Let them know that you’re available to help if they want it, but also allow them to continue to do things on their own.
4. Planning is Important
Planning ahead is important to feeling successful. Rushing and the anxiety it causes can worsen lung disease symptoms, so having a plan will help ease stress. Planning out where to park, how long the errand will take, whether it’s too hot or too cold, whether the pollen count is high and if there will be a place to sit are all important to take into account. However, even the best planned trip can go awry, so it’s essential to remain patient and calm.
3. Coughing Fits are Embarrassing
Unfortunately, coughing fits can happen anywhere and at any time. Many people with chronic lung diseases feel embarrassed when they experience a coughing fit. While family and friends understand the nature of coughing, other people may not. When a coughing attack happens, you can help your loved one by staying nearby and offering a glass of cool water. Sometimes being supportive is the best help available.
2. Be Careful with Your Words
Sometimes people will try to comfort someone living with a chronic condition by offering their support with a kind saying. However, they can end up putting their foot in the mouth instead. Some of these well-meaning yet unhelpful phrases include: “You don’t look sick to me,” “I’m sorry,” “I know exactly how you feel,” “It could be worse” and “Did you get this because you _____?”
These sayings, no matter how well-meaning, can leave the person living with the chronic condition feeling isolated, disregarded and blamed. Instead, try phrases like “I hear what you’re saying,” “Help me understand what you’re going through, so I can be there for you,” “How can I help?” and “How are you?” Sometimes the best support is feeling as though you have a safe place to talk about how you feel.
1. Lung Disease is Scary
This one may seem obvious, but it’s important to understand that living with a chronic condition such as lung disease is scary. While the many symptoms of lung disease are scary, having trouble breathing is extremely frightening. Knowing that lung disease is a progressive disease with no known cure can add to someone’s fears. Supporting and listening to each other will help everyone. It’s okay to ask for what you need, and many people find lung disease support groups helpful.
Help Comes in Many Forms
Chronic lung diseases are challenging to live with and can cause scary symptoms. From talking with your family to trying alternative treatments, help comes in many forms. We hope the 5 things someone with lung disease wants you to know has been helpful. We are happy to answer your questions regarding stem cell treatment options. If you or a loved one has a chronic lung disease, feel free to contact us today at (800) 729-3065.