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All People > Thomas3.20.2010 > Thomas3.20.2010 Blog > 2017 > November

When you can't sort anything, when nothing makes sense any more....

How do you step forward?

All I know is smoking is stepping back. I'm not going that way!

I have no idea how but I'm willing to listen....


Real Life with COPD

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Nov 18, 2017

Perhaps you may be like I was before I knew COPD. I thought it was for old people who used their Spiriva so they can play and run and chase the grandchildren and then when they're very old and have lived a full and active life (Thank You Advair!) they sit comfortably in a recliner and watch TV.

It didn't seem all that bad!

Now I'm a nearly 60 Year old man with a job and COPD. 

Let me share what it's like for me. 

I have been to the Doctor 10 times in the last 2 Months. I've had ear infections, asthma attacks, panic attacks, 3 chest Xrays, Prednisone 2 times (a very harsh steroid) and acute bronchitis. Oh yea - depression!

So far I've been able to go to work enough to keep my job but you can imagine my trepidation that I will not be able to maintain! 

When I was 30 I thought 60 was old. When I was 40 I thought 70 was old. Once I got to be 50 I thought 80 was old. Definitely not 60! But I am a middle aged man with very old lungs! 

I cough so hard I pull muscles in my chest. I have a constant upper respiratory congestion. I'm getting osteoporosis from all of the steroids I take. I now take antidepressants and Ativan every day. I actually take 18 meds a day every day.

Yet I am very fortunate! I still have 50% of my lung capacity and can walk, climb stairs, work full time, pick up my Penny and little Tahlia, accomplish activities of daily living. That's because I exercise, eat right, vaccinate, avoid pollution and dust, but most of all because 7 Years ago when I was diagnosed with emphysema March 14, 2010 I decided right then and there that I would Quit Smoking on March 20 - and I did! 

Smoking Cessation is the only known treatment that slows the progression of COPD.

Find out more at COPD!

If you smoke - Quit ASAP! If you Quit -protect your Quit as if your Life depends on it - because it does! I'm not talking just Quantity - I mean Quality!

This is no picnic!

[Image from Lung Disease News - Lung Disease News ]

Today is COPD Awareness Day!

Why is that important? 

Approximately 12 million adults in the U.S. are diagnosed with COPD, and 120,000 die from it each year. An additional 12 million adults in the U.S. are thought to have undiagnosed COPD. 

Think about it - clearly half of the people who right now have COPD do not know about it! That to me is shocking!

What if it were diabetes or heart disease or cancer? Would you not be appalled?

COPD is an incurable, progressive lung disease that contributes to other comorbidities such as lung cancer, osteoporosis, asthma, arthritis, sleep apnea, depression, anxiety, dementia and more....

But if you are one of those people who has COPD and doesn't know it yet - time and ignorance are not on your side! Awareness is!

Once diagnosed you will find out that you do have a lot of choice about how your COPD goes. You can get medications, vaccinations, and natural treatments; you can learn hygiene, nutrition, and exercise methods that will help make your disease manageable or you can climb into your recliner until the day an ambulance picks you up and takes you to the hospital - not one, not two but several times a Year. You can play with your children and grandchildren - run, jump, skip, and have fun - or you can watch them play from a chair or a park bench with your Oxygen turned up to 5 liters.

Yes, I said children! Did you know that  in 2000, 3.9% of the U.S. population between the ages of 25–44 were living with COPD? Before I learned about COPD I thought of old people - surely not young adults! I thought of heavy smokers - but the truth is that one Sickerette can trigger COPD for life! I also thought that smoking is the cause - and generally speaking it is the most important cause but 15% of folks with COPD do not and have not smoked! Asthma, pollution, dust, poor air quality, and secondhand smoke are other significant risk factors. 

That's important to know! About 25% of people diagnosed with COPD are asthmatics who have experienced lung damage from their asthma before they got COPD.

Then there is a genetic cause for COPD. alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. Only about 100,000 people in the United States have it, but it makes the lungs (and liver) incredibly sensitive to damage and can result in an under-30 diagnosis of COPD (even in otherwise healthy nonsmokers). Imagine if you are an unknowing smoker!

So today think about it. Do you have asthma and a history of smoking? Have you ever heard of or been tested for A1AT? And then I repeat, if you have smoked more than 100 Sickerettes in your lifetime please get a Spirometry Test! 

Knowledge is Power - Decision is the Ultimate Power!

If you smoke please quit! If you have Quit - protect your Quit as if your Life depends on it - because it does! Smoking Cessation is the only known treatment that will slow the progression of COPD!

World COPD Day - Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease - GOLD 

My Sincere Thank You to the Veterans among us who sacrificed and served our Country so valiantly! You truly are my heroes! I praise you even more highly for making the decision to Quit Smoking and to stand up for your Freedom from Addiction!

Sadly, in the United States, cigarette smoking is higher among people currently serving in the military than among the civilian population. Cigarette smoking is even higher among military service people who have been deployed.

According to the CDC:

  • In 2011, 24.0% of all active-duty military personnel reported currently smoking cigarettes, compared with 19.0% of civilians.
  • During 2007–2010, male veterans aged 25–64 years were more likely to be current smokers than nonveterans (29.0% versus 24.0%).

Burden of Tobacco Use in the U.S. | Data and Statistics | Campaign Resources | Tips From Former Smokers | CDC 



Although cigarette rations became illegal in the mid-70s, free cigarettes for soldiers and targeted promotions were still common as recently as the Gulf War.

It's no surprise that Veterans have more mental health issues such as PTSD and depression than the general population, given the experiences they have endured in combat. These mental health problems are linked to the high smoking rates among Veterans.

Research has been focused on Veterans with depression, but also has found that the Veterans who smoked had more severe depression than those who didn’t smoke, and they were also more likely to have PTSD. In addition, the Veterans who smoked also drank more heavily than those who don’t.

Due to the mental health issues faced by many Veterans, behavioral counseling is an especially valuable approach for Smoking Cessation for Veterans. This can not only help them quit smoking, but it can also help them acquire coping mechanisms for psychological, emotional or other issues related to PTSD and help them talk through other problems such as adjustment to civilian life upon return.


Veterans, you spent your lives protecting us, and now we need to protect and support you in your Quit Journey!

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