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  • COPD support groups are gatherings where you can meet other people living with this condition.
  • Support groups come in different forms. There are in-person support groups held at your local hospital or through an organization like the American Lung Association. There are also virtual groups available online.
  • If your partner or a family member is caring for you, they can join a caregiver support group.

Shortness of breath, coughing, and other chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) symptoms can affect your daily life.

Everything is a bit more difficult when it’s hard to breathe. Your family and friends are good to lean on during this time, but they might not fully understand what you’re going through.

That’s where a support group can help. When you join one of these groups, you’ll meet others living with COPD, just like you.

They can teach you tips to help manage your condition. They’ll also give you a feeling of community. Just being around other people who live with the same condition can make you feel less alone.

In-person support groups provide a forum for people to ask questions and talk about their experiences living with COPD. These groups usually meet at hospitals, medical centers, or rehabilitation centers.

Leading each group is a moderator who helps to steer the conversation. Usually, the moderator is someone trained to work with people who have COPD.

When looking for a support group in your area, a good place to start is with the doctor who treats your COPD. Ask if your local hospital offers one of these programs.

The American Lung Association has a program called the Better Breathers Club, which has been around for over 40 years.

You can search online for one near you. These support groups will give you tools to stay healthy and active.

A trained facilitator leads each Better Breathers group. Meetings feature guest speakers, advice on how to solve common COPD challenges, and social activities.

A few organizations and websites host virtual support groups and networks. They offer free advice to help you manage your condition.

  • COPD360social: The COPD Foundation promotes COPD research and tries to improve the lives of people with this condition through education and awareness. Its online community, COPD360social, has more than 47,000 members. It offers inspirational stories and tips from other people who have COPD.
  • Living with COPD: The American Lung Association offers this peer-to-peer online support group. Here you can share your own experiences in managing the disease. You can also learn about pulmonary rehab, oxygen, and other ways people have found relief from COPD symptoms.
  • My COPD Team: This social network brings together people with COPD to share their insights on treating the condition. It includes personal stories, questions and answers, a searchable provider directory, and a way to locate people in your area who have the same diagnosis.

Facebook is also home to a few COPD support groups:

For most Facebook groups, you’ll ask to join and the moderator will approve you.

In an online forum, people can post messages and get responses. It’s also known as a message board. COPD forums are good places to find answers to your most pressing questions about your disease.

As you read the responses, remember that the people posting are typically patients, not doctors. Not all of the advice you get will be medically sound. Always check with your doctor before following any health tips you find online.

Consider the following online forums for people living with COPD:

COPD symptoms like shortness of breath can severely limit your ability to care for yourself. As the disease gets worse, you may need to increasingly rely on a partner or other family member to care for you.

Caregiving is hard work. And though it can be rewarding to care for someone you love, it can also be physically and emotionally demanding. Finding a sense of balance and getting support is critical for any caregiver.

In-person and online support groups are available to help caregivers find the resources they need. Here are a few organizations and online communities that offer support:

COPD can introduce many challenges to your life. No matter how strong you are, you may need to lean on other people for support.

Start by asking your doctor and other members of your medical team for advice. Then look for support groups in your local area and online. A support system can be invaluable when you feel lost, need advice, or just want to talk with someone who understands.