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Speaking with Family About Oxygen

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) it can be a little scary and cause changes in your daily activity, but there are some things that can be done to help with the changes for you and your loved ones.

Shortness of breath, chronic coughing, wheezing are all symptoms of having chronic bronchitis and emphysema. They can make it hard to breath and more difficult to do daily activities. Most people think it’s just part of getting old, but these can all be attributed to having COPD. Speaking with your physician and being diagnosed can help with the treatment process.

Treatments for COPD may include medication and/or oxygen therapy. Both treatments can relieve symptoms and feelings of fatigue.

Oxygen therapy is typically administered by: portable oxygen concentrators (POC’s), compressed oxygen tanks, liquid oxygen or oxygen concentrators. Each device has its pro’s and cons, but they all provide the supplemental oxygen that may be needed.

Introducing oxygen equipment to your family may have its challenges. Include family members when setting up home oxygen from a provider. It will help everyone familiarize themselves with how to operate the device and how to stay safe. If there are young children around, it may be scary for them. The oxygen equipment can be explained as medicine for your chest and lungs. If you or your family has a difficult time seeing the equipment, give it a name and make it part of the family. It doesn’t have to be scary.

There are Better Breathers clubs that can provide support and valuable information. These clubs are usually operated by a physicians group that helps patients and their loved ones learn ways to cope with COPD.

Have open conversations about the oxygen equipment, it can be a way to share lifestyle changes and even get your family involved.

While there's no cure for COPD, there are things that can be done to treat and help manage lung disease, and sometimes little things can make life much more manageable, particularly when you share it with family.

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