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Living with COPD? Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Downplay Your Condition

People living with COPD can be left with feelings of loss, frustration or sadness because they can’t do things they used to. Understanding the severity of their COPD and giving their doctor a full picture about their condition is important so they receive proper treatment and can effectively manage their condition.


If simple activities are leaving you out of breath, you may want to reconsider the reason why.  By the time 80 percent of people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, receive their first diagnosis, they already have moderate to severe symptoms, and have lost significant lung capacity. Many people don’t realize the severity of their symptoms, and attribute being out of breath to aging or being out of shape. In fact, nearly half of all primary care physicians say the biggest barrier to COPD diagnosis is that patients do not fully report their symptoms.


Even after diagnosis, many downplay their condition when speaking to caregivers and doctors. One quarter of patients who say they have experienced common COPD symptoms say they haven’t mentioned these symptoms to their provider, which can lead to inadequate disease management.1


COPD affects about 27 million people in the US, with about half of those afflicted waiting months and sometimes years before receiving a proper diagnosis.  Candyce Norris, COPD Patient and Dr. David Mannino, US Respiratory Expert at GSK and former chief science officer for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Air Pollution and Respiratory Health branch, joined me in a discussion to bring more awareness and understanding to COPD. During our chat, they outlined ways to manage the often-challenging symptoms of COPD, both physically and mentally, and shared how people living with COPD can take an active approach to managing the disease.

Living with COPD

For more information on opening up about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease symptoms and disease management, visit: COPDFoundation.org.



  1. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/copd/campaign-materials/html/talk-with-patients.htm

Living with COPD

Wife. Mom. Believer. Writer. Advocate.

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