COPD or Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs. The symptoms include wheezing, cough, mucus production, and breathing difficulty.
The disease affects more than 15 million Americans every year, which is one death every 4 minutes.
When a person has COPD, their everyday activities become challenging. Breathing difficulties can make the simplest tasks seem impossible. They may find certain things exacerbate the symptoms, like perfumes, dust, and exposure to pollen.
While COPD has no specific cure, getting the right treatment is helpful to manage and improve the quality of your life. It is also crucial to follow a healthy lifestyle to keep your body strong and your respiratory system out of harm.
Here are a few healthy tips to live well with COPD.
Say ‘NO’ to smoking
If you are a smoker living with COPD, quitting smoking is the best thing you can do for your health. Many people with COPD have a history of smoking cigarettes. Quitting won’t cure the illness, but it may help slow the progression of the disease and make it easier for you to breathe.
You may be concerned about working out with COPD. It may be strenuous, challenging, and heavy exercise might trigger breathlessness. You might not be able to run a marathon, but a few gentle workouts can help to improve your respiratory breathing and strength.
Being overweight can make it harder to breathe. Eating a balanced and healthy diet can stimulate weight loss. It may improve the symptoms of COPD.
Being too full or eating large meals can also make it difficult to breathe. Eat smaller meals rather than heavy meals throughout the day.
Drinking water is quite essential to keep mucus thin and prevent it from building up. For many people, a person must drink about six to eight, 8-ounce glasses per day. You may also talk with your doctor about a good daily goal for you.
Improve indoor air quality
Banning smoking in your home is crucial. You must also steer personal care products, cleaning products, and perfumes with strong odors. These may trigger shortness of breath or coughing. You can also opt for non-toxic, natural items instead. Also, do not forget to vacuum your carpets regularly and steam your curtains and fabrics periodically.
If you use an air purifier can also help to reduce allergens and airborne pollutants in your house. You can choose vacuum cleaners and air purifiers that have a HEPA filter.
Get the flu shot
Respiratory infections could make COPD worse. You can talk to your doctor to see if you are a candidate for the flu shot. You can get a shot each year during October or November.
You can also ask your doctor about the pneumonia vaccine. You can take a few steps to prevent getting the common cold. It may cause complications like bronchitis or pneumonia. You can avoid sick people washing your hands frequently and avoiding touching your face with your hands.
Apart from getting flu shots, if doctors recommend you with the prescriptions, you can get good discounts on prescriptions through prescription discount cards.
Learn about the breathing techniques
You can ask your doctor about the techniques that will help to control your breathing during the flares. Pursed-lip breathing can open up the lungs and allow you to take in more techniques. For this technique, you can fix your lips as if you are about to whistle. Breathe in slowly through your nose and count to two. Next, you need to breathe out through pursed lips and count to four. You can repeat this technique up to five times to control your breathing.
Get portable oxygen tank
Oxygen therapy may start to interfere with the quality of your life. You may end up having difficulty carrying a large oxygen unit on errands and end up spending a lot of time at home.
If you switch to the portable, lightweight oxygen unit, it is easier to move around when you are away from home.
Humidifiers are best
In case you are diagnosed with COPD, it may put you at the risk for bronchitis. It is when your body produces a large amount of mucus.
Breathing becomes harder when the mucus gets collected in your airways. If you use a humidifier, it can help because it adds moisture to the air.
COPD is one the lifelong disease. All you need to do is follow the doctor’s plan. It is the first-line defense to manage the condition. Living a healthy life is essential, and illness may slow down the progression as well. It may help to reduce the risk of complications like lung cancer, heart problems, and respiratory infections.