Dear Dr. Arora,
Hello, I’m a 46-year-old mother of two in Columbus, OH. My husband, Chad, is 53 years old and was just recently diagnosed with COPD. Chad has worked in a fiber glass factory for the past 23 years and has smoked cigarettes since I can remember. Upon his recent diagnosis, we were told that smoking and breathing in toxic fumes over a long period are the two leading causes of COPD in adults today.
After leaving the doctor’s office with his new inhaler, he vowed to quit smoking and to be more careful at work by wearing a fume mask. Well, that lasted about a month and now he is back to smoking and doesn’t see COPD as a big deal at all. In fact, he just treats it as a bad cough rather than the debilitating lung disease that it is. He can hardly do anything with our children without wheezing for air and becoming very fatigued. I’ve done a ton of research and I know that male smokers are 12 times more likely to die from COPD than non-smokers. The thought of our children growing up without a father is something that keeps me up at night.
Do you have any advice for how I can better support my husband (and ease my fears) through this?
I am terribly sorry to hear about your husband’s recent diagnosis. The state of Ohio has a 7.7% rate of COPD diagnoses and the rate is increasing day by day. While the inhaler is a great first step to take, if your husband is continuing to smoke it may not be as effective as it needs to be.
COPD is not a condition you can wish away. Soon the shortness of breath and fatigue could turn into emergency room visits and oxygen tanks if he continues the path he’s on. The best thing for the two of you to do is to educate yourselves on COPD and the complications that being diagnosed with it can have on the daily lives of yourselves and your children.
As I mentioned earlier, nearly 8% of our adults have been diagnosed with and are living with this complicated lung disease, so you are not alone. You can find comfort and hope in the fact that there are other options out there for him besides the typical steroid and oxygen treatments.
In fact, Aventiv Research, right there in Columbus, OH, has a COPD research study that they’re enrolling for right now. It may be in your family’s best interest to reach out to them today to see if he can qualify.
CLICK HERE TO ENROLL IN A NEW RESEARCH STUDY