Tips for staying connected when managing health challenges

(NC) Life is richer when shared with people you love, whether it’s attending a birthday party or going for a leisurely stroll.

These moments are especially valued by many of us living with chronic conditions, whether it’s arthritis, diabetes or a lung condition like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – a chronic inflammatory lung disease that makes it difficult to breathe. Many of us worry about losing our independence, the ability to participate in activities, or feeling socially isolated as our condition progresses.

For when times feel tough, here are some reminders to help you get through:

Keep communication open
Be honest about your symptoms with trusted family, friends and healthcare providers, especially if they are new or worsening. Speaking openly can lift a weight off your shoulders, even if it’s uncomfortable at first. Beyond just discussing your symptoms, also talk about what you and your network can do together now, and what you hope to do together in the future.

Revisit how you manage your condition
While there is no silver bullet when it comes to managing a chronic health condition, there may be things you and your healthcare providers can do to make your life a bit easier. As your situation changes, re-evaluate what’s working, what’s not, and make any adjustments based on your doctor’s advice.

When it comes to managing a condition such as COPD, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, a combination of physical activity, respiratory rehab programs, appropriate medications and avoiding irritants and allergens can all help maintain independence as well as reduce flare-ups and hospitalizations.

Reconnect with and grow your support system
Your doctor, family and close friends don’t have to be your only source of support. Seek out groups online or via your healthcare team to find people you can relate with and who have the same condition.

Finding the right supports and management strategies, with help from your family, friends and healthcare team, can make a major difference in your ability to maintain independence and continue enjoying activities you love.

To learn more about COPD management, visit

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