Stress and COPD

April 28th, 2010 | Author: Katelyn Turner

Stress. It’s a part of all of our lives, some more than others. But is it something that can be linked directly to COPD?

I saw this blog the other day, and it got me thinking, so I followed the source.

According to Dr. Hetal Gandhi stress can exacerbate COPD:

“Stress can make pre-existing conditions worse, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). People with asthma who are under extreme stress can experience more severe and frequent asthma attacks, because chronic stress prompts the body to release the hormones that dilate blood vessels, intensifying the lungs’ inflammatory response, and constricts the airways.”

According to Susan Brink, when you have COPD and already have a tough time breathing, stress makes it even harder to breathe.

Photo by Brittney Bush from Flickr Creative Commons

“Your neck, shoulder, and chest muscles tense and you become anxious. Then, you begin to breathe faster, which tires your breathing muscles, trapping air in your lungs. Then, your breathing becomes even more difficult and your anxiety increases. And if not controlled, this spiral can lead to a feeling of panic.”

Luckily, there are many options given for battling stress for COPDers.

Breathing exercises
Maintain a positive attitude
Get some sleep
• And even indulge your sweet tooth (sparingly, of course)

What about you? How do you manage your stress and COPD?


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  2. Don says:

    Stress I stay away from negative people I don,t argue with anyone. This helps a lot if I get stressed my oxygen level drops huge. People think I,m not very friendly and I don,t realy care.

  3. Google says:

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    except this article provides nice understanding even.

  4. mike murphy says:

    stress can definitely cause COPD exasperations. 2 years ago i found out i was being sued, and 4 days later i was in the E.R. with my oxygen level at 74 and pulse was 46. it took a week of steroid IVs to get everything back to as normal as i was before the flare up

  5. Sharon Ring says:

    Definitely, Katelyn. Singing is one of those simple pleasures, always puts the smile back on my face.

  6. Katelyn Harding says:

    Sharon, great tips on how to manage stress! Whatever its cause, stress can be hard to deal with, and exacerbate pretty much everything else you have going on. I agree with the singing – how can that not make you feel better?

  7. Sharon Ring says:

    I would agree wholeheartedly that stress can play a big factor in COPD. I’m preparing to move house, moving 300 miles away from my daughter, so stressful moments have become almost a part of my daily routine. It definitely has an effect on my breathing.

    I tackle this by doing some breathing exercises and, if time allows, I will practice a little meditation (preferably outdoors). I also have incredibly nice neighbours who don’t mind if I occasionally turn up the stereo and have a sing-along to some of my favourite tunes – de-stresses me completely and almost feels like exercising!

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