• Fri. Mar 1st, 2024

Unraveling the Cycle of Breathlessness and Anxiety in COPD Patients: Managing Emotional Health for Better Outcomes


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

Chronic illnesses, such as COPD, can cause anxiety in individuals as they struggle to breathe. This is especially prevalent in those with COPD, a condition that affects 16 million Americans and causes lung blockages to worsen over time. When breathing becomes shallow, the brain may perceive a stressful situation even if one does not exist. This can create a vicious cycle of breathlessness and anxiety that exacerbates symptoms.

Individuals with COPD have a higher rate of anxiety and depression than those without the condition, which can significantly impact their treatment and outcomes. However, emotions are often overlooked between patients and doctors, despite their importance on physical health. Studies on congestive heart failure have shown that treating the heart can improve mental health, while treating mental health can also improve physical health.

Dr. Victor Kim, a pulmonologist at Temple Health, emphasizes the importance of COPD patients acknowledging their anxiety and discussing it with their doctors. He suggests coping strategies such as relaxation techniques or deep breathing exercises to help manage shortness of breath episodes. Education about managing chronic illnesses is also crucial for patients to better understand their condition and take control of their health. Joining a support group can provide COPD patients with a sense of community and an opportunity to learn from others who are going through similar experiences.

Overall, it’s essential for COPD patients to recognize the impact of anxiety on their physical health and seek guidance from healthcare professionals to manage it effectively.

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