Meet George


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Scene 1

George is 55 and has mild COPD but he feels his disease has ruined his life. He becomes very breathless, and gets chest pain even walking a few steps. This means he avoids exercise or activities.

He suffers from fits of coughing which make him wheezy, breathless and frightened. Sometimes he feels he can’t get enough air with each breath. His vision goes blurry and he feels faint.

Scene 2

He says his inhalers don’t relieve his feeling of breathlessness. The GP gave him a steroid inhaler but his chest consultant says his shortness of breath is out of proportion to the severity of his disease and this should be discontinued.

Scene 3

He was referred to a pulmonary rehabilitation programme. At Pulmonary Rehabilitation he learnt to:

  • Use his inhalers properly - because he wasn’t using his inhaler correctly he was not getting any benefit from his prescribed inhaled medication and so he assumed they were not working. For more details on inhalers see: My Lungs My Life: A practical guide to inhalers
  • Exercise safely and how to keep his breathing under control.
  • Suppress his uncontrolled cough. By using specific cough control techniques and taking regular drinks of water to stay hydrated.
  • Use the Active Cycle of Breathing technique to clear chest secretions See My Lungs My Life: COPD: Active Cycle of Breathing Technique.
  • Use strategies to control panic attacks and breathe less. Including relaxation techniques. See psychology and breathlessness for more information.

Scene 4

After 8 weeks he feels less breathless. He knows how to stop and relax before his panic and cough caused chest pain or feeling faint. He can walk further without breathlessness. He sets himself a goal to go to the golf range to have a coffee and hit a basket of golf balls with his friend.

Additional information
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  • RESPe: Treatment: Non-pharmacological treatments:
  • My Lungs My Life: A practical guide to inhalers