Living With COPD
LIVING WITH COPD
Did you know that at least 12 million people in the United States alone have been diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (aka COPD)? We recognize this is a problem and we are here to help.
When it comes to maintaining an active and fulfilling life, sometimes even the little things help. Things like doing tasks while sitting down, wearing loose or less constrictive clothing, arranging objects in your home so that they are within reach, and not moving too quickly. Of course, there are bigger things that will make a greater impact on your life, too. Read on as we highlight some of the things that can help you more effectively manage your COPD.
Diet and exercise are also extremely important. What you choose to eat and how often you exercise make a big difference on your life. By choosing to eat a healthy, balanced diet and striving to exercise on a regular basis, you will notice a definite increase in your fitness levels. Of course, we know physical activity with COPD isn't easy, so start small. Building and maintaining muscle by lifting cans of vegetables, for instance, is an easy and inexpensive way to get some exercise. When you're done lifting, don't forget about eating the contents. Eating at least one fresh fruit and vegetable with every meal will make you feel much healthier. Also, to avoid choking and help with ease of digestion, try to eat small, frequent meals, and drink plenty of water.
The other thing that being conscious of your diet and exercising can help with is managing your weight. Individuals with COPD often have trouble gaining or maintaining weight due to how much energy they expell just by trying to breathe, which can have a negative impact on your health. Conversely, if individuals with COPD are overweight, they may find that they have even greater trouble breathing.
Another way to maintain your weight, believe it or not, is to get enough sleep every night. There is a large correlation between your weight and your sleep patterns. In addition to better breathing, a regular, consistent sleep pattern can also help your mental clarity and your mood, can help regulate your cardiovascular system, and help to maintain a strong immunity. All of these can help you lead a better life with COPD.
Finally, if you smoke, quit. Quitting smoking, as hard as it may be, will have a huge impact on your quality of life with COPD. Smoking is no doubt one of the leading causes of COPD, and while quitting will certainly not cure your COPD, it will definitely reduce future risks. There are myriad helpful ways to quit, from medications to group therapy. If you need help choosing the best method for you, talk to your primary care physician.
GETTING EQUIPPED WITH THE PROPER TOOLS
Naturally, getting treated with the right medication is a crucial part of managing your COPD. Whether you're managing regular or occasional breathing problems, you'll want to talk to a healthcare professional about the treatment that is right for you. Below, we will highlight some of the most popular and effective treatments that are out there.
Cough Assist Devices
Sometimes with COPD, mucus has a tendency to build up, which can not only make breathing difficult, but also lead to pulmonary infections. Cough assist devices, such as flutter valves and acapella flutter valves help manage the accumulation of mucus by clearing the lungs and airways of secretions. These are both small enough to fit in a purse or backpack, so you can take them with you anywhere you go. For stronger, at-home bronchial respiratory therapy, the Cough Assist T70 from Respironics is a great, non-invasive option.
Another device that can be very beneficial in the treatment of COPD is a nebulizer compressor. Much like an asthma inhaler, these distribute a fine mist of aerosol medication into the lungs to help facilitate breathing. Nebulizer compressors are available in either electric stationary units or battery-powered portable versions.
Oxygen concentrators, or oxygen generators, are one of the best ways to provide reliable, cost-effective oxygen support for individuals with COPD. Available in either portable or stationary at-home models, personal oxygen concentrators pull in the air from the room they are in, filter out extraneous gases, and deliver pure, concentrated medical oxygen. Not to be confused with oxygen tanks that are heavy and only have a limited amount of oxygen, concentrators provide users with continuous, 24/7 oxygen. Your doctor will indicate the degree of oxygen output you need when they prescribe your oxygen treatment, so be sure to get all of the details when talking with your medical professional.
The biggest key to living with COPD is getting the right support and being well informed. Stay in touch with your healthcare provider and don't hesitate to reach out to those around you.