It’s the third leading cause of death due to disease in the U.S. and more than 11 million people have been officially diagnosed with it.
What is it?
The answer is COPD. While millions of people have been diagnosed with this condition, there are millions of others who may have it, without knowing it.
If you are living with COPD, then you may be searching for ways to cope with the condition. If that is the case, you are in the right place.
However, before diving into how you can improve your life with COPD, it is better to learn more about it.
What is COPD?
COPD is short for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It’s a progressive lung disease, which means it worsens over time.
Some of the symptoms caused by COPD include chest tightening, shortness of breath, wheezing, and coughing. At times, this condition may even affect your ability to breathe.
Even though there are situations when COPD may limit your ability to do simple activities, such as cooking or walking, it doesn’t have to render you completely powerless. There are several ways to manage this condition and slow down the progression of this disease.
Keep reading for some actionable steps you can take to improve your condition and your life.
1. Get the Needed Vaccinations
Exacerbations of COPD, which are called flares, can be caused by common sicknesses, such as a cold or the flu. You can protect yourself by getting a flu vaccine each year.
Remember, when getting a vaccination, it’s best to go with the traditional shot, rather than the nasal spray vaccine. In addition to the flu vaccine, make sure you get the pneumonia vaccine at least one time before you turn 65, and then two booster doses when you reach 65.
However, you can’t stop there. You also need to protect yourself from whooping cough, which is possible with the Tdap vaccine. This particular vaccination also protects you against diphtheria and tetanus.
2. Stop Smoking
This is a simple tip, but it may be the hardest thing you ever do. However, when you stop smoking, it is the healthiest lifestyle choice you can make – especially if you suffer from a chronic lung disease, such as COPD.
The good news is, your doctor may be able to prescribe you some type of aid that will help you stop smoking for good, which can help your COPD condition.
3. Make Sure You Are Breathing Clean Air
The quality of your air can trigger breathlessness, as well as other symptoms of COPD. Sometimes, indoor air is more polluted than the air outside.
It’s a good idea to ensure your air is clean in your home by using a HEPA filter. This type of filter can remove up to 99% of all indoor air pollutants.
Some other tips to help you improve indoor air quality is to get rid of wall to wall carpeting and to use green products for cleaning, or natural cleaners.
4. Take Your Medication and Treatments as Your Doctor Recommends
When your doctor first diagnoses you with COPD, it can be hard to understand. Even worse is the often-complex directions and medications that you are given.
Due to this, there are many people who suffer from COPD who don’t take their medication properly. As a result, you need to make sure you are taking your medications properly and as prescribed.
Your doctor may also suggest an array of treatments for your condition. One example that is growing in popularity is stem cell for COPD. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions to get the most from any treatment provided.
5. Exercise and Stay in Shape
If you suffer from COPD, it can make the condition worse if you are too heavy or too thin. If you are overweight, then your lungs and heart will have to work harder to provide your body with the oxygen it needs.
If you don’t weigh enough, then you may not get the nutrients required to provide the energy you need for day to day tasks. A good way to maintain a healthy weight is by eating a well-balanced diet, and to exercise on a regular basis.
If you aren’t sure whether or not you are at a good current weight, then it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor.
6. Engage in Breathing Exercises
If you can’t get outside to exercise, you can still do things inside to help improve your condition. One option is breathing exercises, as these help to work out your lungs.
Breathing techniques for COPD are used mainly to help calm any irregular breathing fits of panic due to exacerbations.
One breathing technique to try is the pursed lips breathing technique. To do this, follow these steps:
- Relax your shoulders and neck
- Breathe through your nostrils slowly (keep mouth closed)
- Pucker up your lips
- Breathe out slowly
With this breathing exercise, you can reduce flare-ups and breathe more easily.
Living with COPD: Cope with the Help of Our Tips
As you can see, there are several tips you can use to cope with this condition. If you are living with COPD, there are steps you can take to help improve your life and your overall well-being.
Did you find the information here helpful? If so, be sure to check out some of our other blogs posts under our health section.