stress and copd

i've been experiencing quite a lot of stress recently and my breathing has become much worse ,mi have been having lots of attacks where i cant breath and these are simply horrible ,the hardest part of these attacks is diaphragm control ,and not to panic "which is a natural reaction",these attacks are the scary side of copd and the fear of these attacks can stop you doing certain things because of the fear of a breathlessness attack

my health authority runs a pulmonary rehab course which is for 8 weeks ,twice a week basically its a scaled down keep fit course,the benefits of this course is great,less fatigue,fewer chest infections and a very good confidence builder ,the hard part is keeping up with this fitness regime.

19 Replies

  • Stick with it, it's well worth it. Stress is a major contributor to COPD exacerbations - I was given a tip to just try and remember a member of your family whom you love and this will fool the brain into thinking about something else and thus the stress side will subside quicker. It does actually work - the bad bit is trying to remember the tip in the first place !

  • hi/hows the hand now ok.did u manage find the thread for professor peter barnes/take care

  • hi caroll, hand being a right bind at the mo - but trying to rest it - trying!

    Found one thread but couldn't get to the clinical trials bit - thanks for reminding me (memory is rotten) will try again. x

  • Hi soulboy, perhaps you should give the BLF helpline a call, on 03000 300 500.

    I've just been put on Citalopram to help deal with a similar problem.

    Good luck :)

    Sandra x x x

  • i think I will thanks sandra.

  • I have been taking Citalopram for sixteen years to prevent panic attacks


  • My husband suffers exactly the same. Stress renders him very breathless and actually before he was diagnosed with COPD, I also knew when he was stressed because he began to cough! We have to change a lot in our lives to avoid stress where we can. It is especially difficult when going out with other people who don't realise restaurants with steep stairs are almost impossible.

    He also suffers with panic attacks and these become much worse during an infection and during stress. He has a learned a technique that helps him - to concentrate on breathing - breathing out to the count of 3 and in for the count of 2. This may help?

    The pulmonary rehab was fantastic for my husband - please try to keep up to the exercise. My husband hasn't and after two years needs another course! Take good care and Good Luck TAD xx

  • thanks for the tips, will try them the hardest thing is trying not to panic.

  • I can really reccomend PR to its so very helpful, sadly my local hospital now has had to stop doing it which is such a shame as I am convinced it must keep a lot of people out of hospital and save money for the NHS not to mention the good it does for all the patients too.

    Best of luck with yours and i agree with sandra give the helpline a ring re the anxiety or have a chat with GP some people here take medication to help it

    Best wishes JULIEXX

  • Hi Soulby, here's a link to a fantastic blog written by one of our members, it helped me enormously. Also, as soon as I start getting out of breath I start going "Haaaa" hard for 4 or 5 seconds, then breath in normally and Haaaa out again until your breathing returns to normal. You need to start this at the very outset of breathlessness before everything starts getting out of control.


  • thanks,i tend to suck in like i'm sucking through a straw and breath out the same way my therapist called it positive pressure to force the air sacks open and keep them that way ,the hard part is panic control ,will try your suggestion though to see if it works for me,thanks and take care,dave

  • Hi Dave, you need to force out more air than you are taking in, otherwise your lungs become overinflated and you'll find you can get less and less air in. IMy consultant prescribed 0.5mg lorazepam under the tongue once panic sets in, it works wonders and relaxes your diaphragm very quickly. Eventually, it's very, very rare I get to the panic stage any more and find that by "haaaa-ing" out hard lets me keep control. Good luck, I know how horrendous it can be. Libby

  • I usually control my breathing quite well as long as I concentrate on a pattern of long breaths out with the haaaa and short breathes in.

    For the first time for ages I went to our local shopping centre on my own, I was determined because I wanted to see if I could get some information on voice activated laptops for my hubby (he has recently lost his sight).

    Anyway I completly lost my bearings and had to walk much further than I thought, I must have looked a sight because the manager of John Lewis stopped and asked me if I needed any help, I just gasped no thanks I am just out of breath I will be o.k.

    I was very proud of myself keeping the breathing under control , I was a bit worried about getting back to the car but it was o.k. and I think it did me the world of good I will go again.

    Unfortunately I could not get the information I needed.

    polly xx

  • Hi polly, I've not heard of a voice activated laptop, but I do know there is an inbuilt narrator and speech recognition programmes within vista and windows 7 operating systems. Probably not what you're looking for, though.

    Sandra x x x

  • Hi nowheeze he has windows 7 and have had a look but unfortunately it is not suitable so will have to look into it further.

    polly xx

  • hi ye stress is part an pakage/but like scrobbity said think of a distraction.i was same wen I found out I had copd mind didn't even no wat it was so ur not alone there with stress/I go for the walk test nx week but 1st im nipping over to breathe easy as its the 2nd july but different time 115 till 315/but im leavin at 3 to get to Royton for the rehab place ave find it 1st,as at breathe nx week theres 3 speakers there 2 are top respitory men for Oldham so im going,mean medical 2month be fore there /was 2nurse from blf there,1 asked me wat I had/told her and she said which rehab u go 2.i said none as no1 as told me.she sighned me up there,and told me will get in touch with my gp to tell him im on rehab now,u take care/with all nipping that day hope im ok for the walk test,

  • my rehab is for 12week ,is it different in other parts.

  • Stress does affect our breathe. The advantage of the PR course it can work on so many levels health wise. You are doing a great thing by attending the course, do keep the exercise going once you have finished the course as is advised, you will wonder at the difference it will make to you, a few years down the line.

    Keep up the good work.

  • I have to agree with the others the PR made me feel great, not just physically but the talks helped me mentally knowing I could turn to the respiratory team at any time. Stick with it if you can.

    Kim xxxxx

You may also like...