To answer your "big" question, does anyone ever get better from COPD, the answer probably is no. It is a progressive disease, which generally means that it, well, progresses. The "progressive" part refers to the fact that everyone, whether they have COPD or not, loses lung function as they age. The lung function of a healthy 25 year old will be far greater than the lung function of a healthy 75 year old. That's life. Ok, now we can talk about life for COPDers. Our lung function, because of our COPD/emphysema/bronchitis/whatever, has decreased at a rate faster than normal. When we take a spirometry test or a Pulmonary Function Test (PFT) and they measure the FEV1 and it comes up with a percent figure, that percent figure is what we were able to do compared to a healthy person of our age, sex, height, weight, etc. Mine, for instance, is 35%, meaning that my performance on the test was about 35% compared to a 64 year old woman of my height and weight with no lung disease. My FEV1 has hovered around 35% since 2000 when I had my first spirometry test. That means that I've held my own, relative to the rest of the population. While my lung function is reduced because of the normal progression of age, I haven't lost any more in comparison to that healthy 64 year old woman. That's probably about the best that I can hope for: not to lose any more lung function in comparison to other women my age. How do you do that? Well, you exercise.....a lot, and exercise hard, daily. You watch your diet, keep your weight as close to normal as you can, take your meds like you're supposed to, get your flu shots and avoid people with bugs as much as possible. Most important, from my standpoint, is the exercise and weight control. 35% is a little better than a third the lung capacity of someone without lung disease, but I can work full time, travel for business and pleasure and enjoy playing with my grandchildren. I have a very good life, and you can too.....I understand being scared, but don't let your fright paralyze you.
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