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Overcoming Chronic Illness: Addressing Anxiety in COPD Patients for Improved Quality of Life

ByEditor

Feb 13, 2024
Temple Health strives to help COPD patients break the cycle of anxiety often experienced.

Chronic illnesses can be overwhelming, and for those dealing with conditions like COPD, anxiety is a common issue. This condition affects 16 million Americans, and as lung blockages worsen over time, breathing becomes increasingly difficult. When this happens, the brain may perceive a stressful situation even when one does not exist, creating a vicious cycle of breathlessness and anxiety that can make symptoms worse.

Individuals with COPD are at over 1.5 times the risk of developing anxiety and depression compared to those without the condition. Despite this, emotional wellness is often overlooked in treatment plans for COPD patients. However, studies have shown that treating both physical and emotional health can have a significant impact on overall outcomes for individuals with congestive heart failure.

Dr. Victor Kim, a pulmonologist at Temple Health, emphasizes the importance of COPD patients acknowledging their anxiety and speaking with their doctors about it. He suggests various coping strategies, education on breathing techniques to improve symptoms during shortness of breath episodes and encourages patients to join support groups where they can learn from each other and share strategies for managing their disease.

It’s essential for COPD patients to recognize that their anxiety is not just in their head and to seek support from healthcare professionals to address it. By doing so, they can improve their overall quality of life and manage their disease more effectively.

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