Meet Doug Cooper, COPD survivor
Doug Cooper began to have problems breathing 30 years ago. At the time, he thought it was part of getting older. “I couldn’t take the stairs two at a time, like I used to be able to do,” he says, “but then it got to the point where I was gagging and gasping for air after going up three steps.”
He ended up at the hospital, where a lung specialist said Doug had asthma. A host of medications later and he still couldn’t catch a breath. That’s when Doug was referred to another specialist, where tests confirmed that Doug had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. The disease damages your airways, the breathing tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs, as well as the tiny air sacs at the tips of the airways.
No wonder Doug had trouble breathing. COPD was making it hard to move air in and out of his lungs.
“I didn’t know what COPD was,” recalls Doug. Thinking it was just a little thing, he went home and did some research. “I got really worried when I read that there is no cure and if I didn’t look after myself, COPD could kill me in four years.”
That’s when Doug took action, with the help of the Lung Association. He phoned the number that was publicized on the website to request information be mailed to him. Through the local chapter, he joined a regular exercise class geared to people with COPD. “Things really started to improve for me then. My medications stabilized and I got off the steroids,” he says.
Doug thanks the resources and helpful advice he received from the Lung Association, one of 16 national health charities working under the HealthPartners umbrella to transform the health of Canadians, for getting his health back. His ability to breathe normally again is “living proof that donating to HealthPartners works.”
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