More than 330,000 Arizona residents live with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but the numbers affected by this serious, chronic lung disease affect more than breathing. A diagnosis of COPD, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, comes with many physical and emotional challenges that can affect the whole family and circle of friends.

From chronic cough and shortness of breath to fatigue and wheezing, it is difficult to breathe with COPD and over time symptoms and flare-ups worsen. But with a strong support network, COPD can be managed so that individuals can live full and active lives. Our Office of Chronic Disease is providing funding to the American Lung Association in Arizona to address chronic lower pulmonary disease including COPD.

You can help who suffer from COPD by being a strong support system . You can help your loved one with the following tips:

  • The most important part of managing COPD is connecting with a healthcare provider about medication, how to properly take it, and how symptoms are developing. Creating a COPD Management Plan with a healthcare provider can help with day-to-day care and what to do if an emergency should occur.
  • Whether a partner, a good friend or a trustworthy healthcare aide, a stable caregiver can help with daily medication reminders, trips to the doctor’s office or just a walk around the park. Being able to rely on someone else can help ease the stress and burden of COPD.
  • Most people want to help, but don’t know how. Allow friends and family to help with tasks around the house, and ask for help when you need it. Having a regular coffee or phone date on the calendar can give friends something to look forward to and a reason to get up and moving.
  • In-person adult support groups for individuals with chronic lung disease, their family members, friends, and caregivers, are available at more than 500 locations throughout the U.S. Facilitated by a trained health educator, Better Breathers Clubs offer the opportunity to learn ways to better cope with a lung disease like COPD, pulmonary fibrosis, and lung cancer while getting the support of others in similar situations. Find a local Better Breathers Club at org/better-breathers.
  • Sometimes a question is too complex for a search engine. Registered nurses, respiratory therapists, and counselors are available at the Lung Association’s Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNGUSA or through chat at org/helpline. Detailed and accurate information is available and callers are connected with the same specialist for check-ins and call backs.

For more information about COPD, and tips on how to better manage care, visit the American Lung Association website at or call the free Lung HelpLine 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872).