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Myths about COPD

23 Oct 2014
| Under COPD, Lung Disease | Posted by | 3 Comments
Myths about COPD Lung Institute

Fact or Fiction? Sometimes, we may question what we hear when it comes to the things we are told. For example, are you familiar with the myth that says cracking your knuckles gives you arthritis? Or that the 5-second rule is okay for when you drop your food? These are just some of the common misconceptions that we’ve all grown up hearing.

Just like the myths stated above, medical conditions are not devoid of their own set of myths and tall tales. One disease in particular, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), has seen its own fair share of myths over the years. So what are some of the myths about COPD?

8 Crazy Myths About COPD

In case you didn’t know, COPD is a progressive form of lung disease ranging from mild to severe. It is characterized by a restriction of airflow into and out of the lungs that makes breathing difficult. COPD includes both emphysema and chronic bronchitis. It can be hard to believe that there are any myths about COPD, but here are some of the craziest ones:

Only Smokers Can Get COPD

A long time ago, this may have been true, but research over the years has provided a different set of reasons for the causes of COPD. While COPD is mostly associated with smoking, genetics and other environmental factors can contribute to developing this condition.

Asthma and COPD Are The Same

Asthma was once included in the umbrella of conditions associated with COPD, but that is no longer the case. Asthma and COPD may share similar features, but both diseases are different in terms of diagnosis, frequency of symptoms, and the effects of airways obstruction.

People with COPD Should Never Exercise

It is true that exercise may be difficult for people with COPD, but that does not mean that exercising should be eliminated from your routine. Exercising is one of the best ways to improve your overall health status and improve your quality of life.

COPD Means The End of Intimacy

Of course, this is another common myth that COPD sufferers may hear. Couples may get scared that increased intimacy might cause a COPD flare-up, but that doesn’t mean that the fire has to die. Ask your doctor about what you can do and research some great ways to stay intimate.

There is No Effective Treatment

Once again, this is just not true. While there is no cure for COPD, the disease can be treated to prevent and control symptoms. Most treatments are designed to reduce the chances for a flare-up and improve your overall health status. Here are some of the most common treatments for COPD and potential natural treatments that could help. Be sure to ask your doctor about an effective course of treatment.

COPD Only Effects Men

Once believed to be a man’s disease, this has seen been proven false. In fact, women are 37 percent more likely to have COPD than men. Women also account for more than half of all deaths attributed to COPD in the United States. COPD is now more common in women than men.

Kicking The Habit Won’t Help Much

This is just not true. Quitting smoking is just about the best thing you can do if you suffer from COPD. It can help prevent further damage to your lungs and make you feel better in the long run.

My Lungs Will Heal Themselves

This is one myth that gets tossed around a lot among the COPD community. The sad truth is that COPD is an irreversible process. Once a person has been diagnosed, the damage is done and the lungs do not heal themselves. The good news is that treatments have progressed over the years to help relieve the overall symptoms and help patient’s live better lives.


There are just some myths about COPD. If you want to learn more, ask your doctor or do some research online. If you or a loved one suffers from a lung disease and want to learn more about treatment optionscontact us or call (800) 729-3065.


  1. Phoebe

    8 months ago

    Hi C. Thomas,

    While there are scientists and researchers investigating COPD, lung diseases and treatment options, COPD and other chronic lung diseases remain without a cure at this time. However, there are treatment options available to help people living with these conditions breathe easier. Treatments may include inhalers, oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation, stem cell therapy, lifestyle changes and more. It’s best to discuss treatment options with your doctor.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  2. C. THomas

    8 months ago

    This is not true! the lungs do in fact heal. Here is a study to show it. NHLBI Researchers Reverse Emphysema in Lab Animals

    June 1, 1997
    Scientists supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) have shown, for the first time, that retinoic acid, a derivative of Vitamin A, reverses emphysema in the lungs of laboratory rats.
    Dr. Gloria De Carlo Massaro and Dr. Donald Massaro of the Georgetown University School of Medicine showed that in rats given elastase to produce emphysema-like changes in their lungs, treatment with retinoic acid returned the lung alveoli to normal size and number. The alveoli are the small air spaces in the lungs where the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between the lungs and the bloodstream takes place.
    Elastase is a protein that breaks down the elastin that helps maintain the alveolar walls.
    The Massaro study appears in the June issue of Nature Medicine.

  3. stephanie

    3 years ago

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