All patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) should become expert in their own health care management. They should understand the basic nature of their problem, its course and prognosis, and how modern treatment can help to reduce the symptoms and enhance the quality of life that lies ahead.
Their doctor should be their consultant, as well as their friend and counselor. The relationship between patient and doctor is a key to success. This book is written from two viewpoints--the customer and the treatment provider, giving a basis for collaboration.
COPD is primarily a smoker's disease, which clusters in families and worsens with age. As doctors have learned about the underlying processes which damage the airways and alveoli and have developed powerful therapeutic approaches, they are better able to improve the lives of patients diagnosed with COPD, even in advanced stages of disease. Our early work in pulmonary rehabilitation showed both improved quality of life and length of life. Our pioneering oxygen studies also resulted in improved survival and life quality. Today, most people with COPD live into their seventies or eighties, a normal life span. How one lives, however, is at least as important as how long one lives.
Coping with anxiety, depression, and shortness of breath during normal activities is a challenge. It is a fact that the patient is the only one who knows exactly how the disease translates into individual feelings of loss. But the enlightened patient, equipped with modern knowledge, can be the key member of the healthcare team, with the goal of lessening the impact of COPD. The goal of pulmonary rehabilitation is to prevent premature loss of quality of life.
We are entering a new era of prevention. The National Lung Health Education Program (NLHEP) aims to identify patients in incipient stages of disease, who are mostly smokers beginning to lose airflow. A simple device, known as a spirometer, measures both airflow and volume. This device should be present in all primary care physicians' offices. Early identification can lead to smoking cessation, which is the most important therapeutic intervention. New approaches to inflammation, as well as nutritional strategies appear to be valuable for early stages of disease.
The authors are to be congratulated for producing such a readable and informative book. Not only patients and their families, but healthcare professionals will benefit from reading this timely handbook.
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Courage and Information Readers praise | A book to help you help yourself | Foreword by Brian L. Tiep, MD | Foreword by Thomas L. Petty MD | Introduction | Table of Contents | The Devastation of the Diagnosis (Jo-Von Tucker) | Appreciation of Jo-Von Tucker | Feature story | Courage: Authors | BUY Courage and Information | Seeing the story
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