How can I manage my COPD?
Your COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) Plan of Action can include many treatments and methods, and some simple lifestyle adjustments can maximize them and make all the difference toward a more fulfilling life. A few things to think about:
Use your inhalers as your doctor ordered. This will help reduce your chances of having to go to the hospital. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to show you how to use your inhalers properly.
Daily exercise is recommended for everyone with COPD. Don’t be worried that it will make you more short of breath. If you do not exercise, your muscles will become weak, and you’ll have more trouble breathing. If your muscles are strong, then you’ll be able to do more without getting as short of breath. Talk to your doctor about an exercise program.
Sometimes people with COPD need oxygen, but they’re embarrassed to use it, or they don’t like being attached to a machine. There is an upside to using oxygen though. It can help you to breathe better and be more active. It may even help you live longer! If your doctor ordered oxygen for you, it’s important to use it exactly as prescribed. Don’t turn the flow rate up higher when you have trouble breathing, as it may not help, and it could even be harmful. If you’re using your oxygen as your doctor ordered, and you’re still having trouble breathing, you should call your doctor right away.
Ask your doctor to show you how to do pursed lip breathing and diaphragmatic breathing. These breathing techniques can help you breathe easier when you feel short of breath. You will need to practice these techniques so that you’re ready to use them when you need them.
It’s important to eat a healthy diet. This can help to keep your muscles strong so that you can breathe better. It can help your body fight off germs. Drink a lot of fluids to keep your mucus thin so that it’s easier to cough up.
Make sure you get enough sleep. This will help to give you more energy during the day. It’s a good idea to plan your daily activities so that you aren’t doing all of your hard chores at once. Try to space them out, as this will help you to conserve energy. Also, remember that eating a meal uses energy, so it’s important to rest for about 20 or 30 minutes before you decide to do another activity.
You can also take advantage of the opportunity to do activities while you’re sitting. For example, you may be able to sit while drying your hair or shaving. If you get tired, remember you can finish the activity at another time. It’s fine to stop and take a rest or to ask family or friends for help.