Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
With a little help, Eddie Brownlow realised he could manage hisCOPD and get on with life.
Having served in the navy and the army as a paratrooper, Eddie Brownlow was fit when he left the forces aged 47.But he had smoked about 15 cigarettes a day for most of his life.
"It was the done thing back then. It relaxed me after a parachute jump," says Eddie.
After retiring from a second career as a sales manager, Eddie was getting breathless whenever he had to lift something heavy or exert himself. He ignored the fact he was feeling a "bit puffy" all the time and carried on.
But by 1998 he couldn't ignore it any more. "We were in Mexico on holiday and I had booked a marlin fishing trip," says Eddie. "But when I woke up I could hardly breathe. Luckily I recovered, but when I got back homeI picked up a chest infection."
He went to his GP, who referred him to hospital. He was diagnosed with COPD. He followed a rehabilitation programme, which he describes as excellent. He learned about his medication, how to exercise and how to improve his diet.
Eddie says: "I realised there wasno need to panic. You just need to learn to manage your condition. There's advice available."
One important thing Eddie knew he had to do was give up smoking. It took him quite a while, but with patches, advice and support from his wife he finally kicked the habit.
He also got involved with his local British Lung Foundation group, Breathe Easy, a voluntary organisation that supports people with breathing conditions like COPD. Within a few months of joining he took over his group andbuilt up the membership.
Eddienow makes it his job to raise awareness of breathing conditions and, through his efforts, the town's mayor selected his branch of Breathe Easy as his chosen charityrecently.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the name for a group of lung conditions that cause breathing difficulties. COPD is a common condition that mainly affects middle-aged or older adults who smoke. Many people don't realise they have it.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) makes breathing increasingly more difficult. But it develops slowly over many years and you may not be aware you have it at first. Common symptoms include shortness of breath, a persistent cough and wheezing, etc.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) occurs when the lungs and airways become damaged and inflamed. It's usually associated with long-term exposure to harmful substances such as cigarette smoke, or fumes at work, etc.
See your GP if you have persistent symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). They may also carry out or arrange for you to have a breathing test called spirometry and some of the other tests like chest x-ray, etc.
If your COPD is affecting your breathing, you'll usually be given an inhaler. This is a device that delivers medication directly into your lungs as you breathe in. If you experience symptoms regularly throughout the day, a long-acting bronchodilator inhaler will be recommended instead.
It's important to take good care of yourself if you have COPD. Some of the main things you'll be advised to do are; take your medication, stop smoking, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, etc.
Read the story of Lynn Ashton, who was diagnosed with COPD after she noticed her breathing was getting worse.
Read the story of Eddie Brownlow, who has diagnosed with COPD after smoking 15 cigarettes a day for most of his life.