Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is an increasingly common concern to today’s elders. At present, it affects about 5% of the world’s population, and according to the World Health Organization, as of 2011, it was the fourth-most common cause of death worldwide, claiming around three million lives. Mainly targeting the lungs, the condition is characterized by shortness of breath, coughing, and chronic bronchitis. COPD is absolutely a serious condition, but it is far from unconquerable. With the proper time and care, it can be effectively managed and treated. Should a loved one suffer from it, keep the following tips in mind as you help them work towards recovery.Image via Flickr by Fried Dough Many factors can potentially cultivate COPD, but the leading cause is tobacco smoke. If your loved one is a smoker, the most effective first step in overcoming COPD is to quit the habit. The condition may also be promoted by poor indoor or outdoor air quality, due to secondhand smoke, pollution, improper ventilation, and the like. If this is the case, you may want to move to a healthier environment; it may seem like a big change, but it could be what your loved one needs to get better.Image via Flickr by Ed Yourdon Over time, COPD greatly weakens the lungs, so it's crucial to keep them in the best possible shape. The best way to do so is to keep up a regular exercise routine to stay active and mobile. This will be very difficult at first, due to restricted airflow and shortness of breath, but sticking to a long-term plan will do much to strengthen the lungs and fend off COPD's symptoms.Image via Flickr by Hamdi00 Healthy habits will prove to be extremely valuable over time, but ultimately, a comprehensive treatment plan may be necessary for a full recovery. There are several treatment methods to choose from, some of which can be expensive, time-consuming, and/or uncomfortable; faced with such things, a COPD patient may naturally feel overwhelmed and resist these major lifestyle changes. Take the time to research all available options, and encourage your loved one to work towards recovery by whatever means you consider appropriate.Image via Flickr by RambergMediaImages COPD treatment doesn’t exclusively take place at the hospital—patients are likely to need a variety of medication to stave off the condition’s symptoms. This prospect, too, can be overwhelming, so seek and accept any professional advice on starting a new medication schedule and managing it over time. COPD meds can be pricey, but affordable options do exist; major medications such as Advair, for instance, can be purchased online with a prescription.Image via Flickr by pmgnilre Coping with COPD is by no means easy; it is taxing emotionally as well as physically on all involved. It can be difficult, but keeping up a healthy attitude can contribute greatly to a healthy body. Do spend as much time as you need to on treatment and exercise, but don’t forget to leave plenty of room in your schedule for rest, relaxation, and whatever makes you happy. Managing COPD doesn’t have to mean being controlled by the condition, and keeping sources of fun in your lives is the best way to prove it.Image via Flickr by USACE Europe District As a loved one of a COPD patient, watching them cope with the condition often creates a sense of frustration and powerlessness, but don’t forget that just being by their side is a powerful recovery tool. Take up an active role in their treatment process, and encourage your loved one to keep pushing on. Of course, you needn’t do it all alone—call upon the help of willing friends and family when you can, and consider reaching out to one or more COPD support groups (for patients, loved ones of patients, or both). Battling with COPD is not a task to be taken lightly, and means making some big life changes in the name of recovery. If you commit to it, however, recovery will certainly be within your reach, and you and your loved one can lead perfectly normal, productive, happy lives. [smartads] Author Bio: Abigail Clark is an up-and-coming freelance writer. She graduated from The University of South Florida with a bachelors in marketing, minoring in journalism. When she isn’t up to her neck in coupons she is enjoying the outdoors fishing. She loves doing reviews for technology, home products and beauty products. If you would like her to do a review for you look her up on twitter @downtownabby17.