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Can respiratory problems affect my mental health?

After cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), are the biggest global killers. There are more than 40 different respiratory conditions and many continue to progress and make it more difficult to adjust to the new challenges each disease stage presents. The gradual and persistent change in lung function can make daily activities more and more difficult to perform or more frightening to attempt. It can also affect a person's social, physical and personal activities. All of these changes can have a profound impact on a person's mental and emotional outlook.

The Australian Lung Foundation states that "it's important to empower patients with better coping skills to deal with both physical and psycho-social stressors. If care for respiratory diseases is not integrated with concern about psychological and emotional responses to these chronic diseases -- negative feelings such as anxiety, anger, tension, frustration, hopelessness and depression are likely to occur and to contribute to worsened health outcomes for patients. The prevalence of depression and anxiety in COPD patients can range between 40-90%, compared to 8-20% in the normal population."

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.