The Silver Lining
The good news is that depression can be successfully monitored and treated in turn, improving COPD, but you must tell your health care professional if you're feeling depressed or anxious.
Learning about living with COPD can also help both diseases since understanding what's happening in your lungs and learning breathing techniques to cope can prevent exacerbations and help you stay in control of your breathing.
Staying active also helps with both COPD and depression. Doing some type of exercise that you're able to do helps your fitness, strength, flexibility and frame of mind. "Certainly in COPD, exercise is important for many reasons and has been shown to improve outcomes. So, if you think you might be depressed, you should attend to this, get treatment, and work on getting back to a regular exercise routine. Evidence suggests that this is the best way to optimize your treatment for COPD," says Mark Aloia, PhD, a health psychologist and Global Lead at Phillips Health Tech.
"The relationship between depression and exercise is not at all specific to COPD, but it is highlighted in the disease. Exercise helps depression in many studies, though one should not think of it as a cure for depression," says Aloia.
A pulmonary rehabilitation program or COPD support group can also help you learn from experts as well as other patients on how to best manage your disease and prevent depression or depressive episodes from worsening COPD.
COPD is a challenging disease but working carefully with your healthcare provider and being aware of the depression connection can put you one step ahead.