COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease may be defined as an inflammatory, chronic lung disease which results in the obstructed flow of air from the lungs. It may manifest as either emphysema or chronic bronchitis. But the main causes are smoking and exposure to pollutants.
Pulmonary rehabilitation is an important and successful way to deal and manage with these issues.
It is vital to deal with and live with the disease by following pulmonary rehabilitation.
Some of the symptoms of COPD that must not be ignored are tightness in the chest, wheezing, difficulty in breathing, respiratory infections, chronic cough, fatigue, unwarranted weight loss as well as swelling of ankles, feet, and lungs. Following a proper diagnosis, a doctor will recommend a suitable treatment.
Tips for living with COPD
COPD is a challenging condition, but it need not interfere with regular life. You can live with the disease with a good diet, proper care, and a bit of patience.
For sufferers of this condition exercise may have been more challenging, more infections can appear, and sufferers may even wake up gasping for air. There are many ways to deal with such challenges. Following are some tips to live daily with COPD using pulmonary therapy:
- Quit smoking
Smoking is the number one cause and killer of COPD. Some non-smokers also face this condition, but rarely. So, it is vital to quit smoking. Those in the advanced stage of this illness can also benefit from quitting smoking. It is the number one step to save one’s lungs. It is also the number one way to avoid the worsening of COPD.
Consult the doctor about ways to quit. It is easier to quit with the aid of tools like prescription medicines, patches, or nicotine gums.
- Improve breathing
In the case of COPD, the lungs may have been damaged by things such as aging, air pollution, and smoke. They may not be as robust as before and fail to move sufficient oxygen into the blood. Thus, the worst challenge with COPD is the shortage of oxygen.
Pulmonary therapy involves doing regular breathing exercises. This helps not only to enhance the oxygen supply in the body but also combats any anxiety. Some of the breathing exercises are pursed lip breathing and abdominal breathing.
- Eat right and maintain a healthy weight
The heavier a person is the tougher it is for the lungs to function. A healthy diet is a key to physical fitness. Consult a dietician about a diet program for COPD. Follow tips like eating frequent, well-balanced, and small meals, using smaller plates and portions, drinking plenty of fluids, consuming lots of vegetables, fruits, fiber-rich items, etc.
- Avoid exposure to irritants
A patient with COPD has sensitive lungs and should stay away from any irritants like dust, smoke, fumes, mold, mildew, paint, varnish, car exhaust, air pollution, and secondhand smoke. If these are unavoidable, wear a mask and wash hands frequently. Treat allergy symptoms so as not to worsen COPD.
- Regular exercise
Patients with COPD may view exercise with trepidation. But exercise is truly helpful to alleviate the condition. Go in for exercises like stretching, aerobics, and strength exercises. But one must take care to first consult a doctor before starting an exercise program. One’s medical team will offer advice on whether to use a breathing device and how to pace oneself.
- Take medicines on time
Taking medicines as prescribed by the medical team will help control symptoms.
- Pace one’s activities
While the day passes, do activities at a slow pace- walking from one room to another, cleaning the home, or preparing meals. This will help in alleviating severe symptoms like shortness of breath, wheezing, and coughing.
- Make adjustments
One can deal with symptoms easily by making adjustments such as keeping vital objects within easy reach, wearing loose clothing to get dressed easily, and using special household gadgets like tongs with long handles.
In sum, these are all useful tips on how to handle COPD and live with it in a bearable way. It is good to follow a pulmonary rehabilitation that includes counseling about diet and exercise and making lifestyle changes like quitting smoking.