Living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is hard, but before we get to that let’s define it. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung disease that damages the lungs and thus resulting in difficulty in breathing. It is a long-term chronic condition in which the tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs, commonly called the airways to get partly obstructed, making the passage of air through the lungs during respiration difficult.
Time and again the term COPD is used to define two chronic conditions – Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema which can either occur separately or together. However, COPD as it commonly occurs has these two illnesses appearing together. Chronic Bronchitis is a condition which has inflammation and swelling of the mucous lining of the trachea. This leads to excessive mucus that blocks the airways and causes a cough that persists for several months and even years. The narrowing of the airways also makes many sufferers of the disease feel breathless.
A patient diagnosed with a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) usually goes into a state of shock and despair, as the disease has no cure. However, the good news is COPD is not the end of the world. A person can still lead a reasonably happy life after being diagnosed with COPD. All it takes is to be willing to make some sacrifices and adapt to a new lifestyle.
To control COPD, one has to give up smoking immediately, as it’s the primary cause of COPD. Many methods help smokers start a whole new life. Since smoking causes COPD, smoking cessation is the only way to check the rapid progression of the disease. Let’s take a look at some proven ways to control COPD and lead a healthy life:
Maintaining a safe environment
Once you’re diagnosed with COPD, if you’re a smoker, as earlier mentioned, quit smoking before you do anything else. No other one single thing or set of combined efforts can help control COPD that quitting smoking.
Since occupational hazards like smoke, chemical dust and fumes, toxic particles further worsen COPD, switch your profession, you can or make mild changes on how you work. Have all painting walls, spraying of disinfectant on plants done when you are not at home.
Exercise and diet
You don’t have to spend much time exercising but doing some mild short exercises is very helpful. Your body benefits from exercise a lot, it doesn’t mean since you’re suffering from COPD you have to quit exercise, no, that may even be dangerous to your health and can lead to other forms of ailment. So do a little exercise and also eat a proper diet.
Here are some tips;
- Eat small meals several times throughout the day.
- Eat healthily and prepare meals with foods that cook fast.
- Breathing exercising and tips for better posture can give you more air than your lungs seem to hold.
- Daily stretching and short walks can keep you stronger.
- Do not expend much energy on tasks
Physical weakness and weight loss affect many COPD sufferers. People with COPD need ten times more calories to breathe compared to an individual in normal health. So, it’s understandable that COPD patients even when seemingly normal in appearance, find even small chores very taxing.
Here are some tips:
- Use light-weight rolling carts to move stuff around the house.
- Use support bars in bathrooms and stairways to assist walking, rising and moving about.
- Keep things handy and organised and easy to access places. Avoid storing and using spaces above shoulder level.
- Aim to live active lives but look to conserve your energy.
- Keep away from unnecessary tasks and take help when you can, from friends and family members.
- Rest often while doing chores that are unavoidable.
- Practice relaxation techniques that work for you. They can help you cope better with shortness of breath.
- Get adequate sleep and take short breaks of rest through the day to you more energy for things you need to do.
- Follow hobbies that are not physically demanding.
Be devoted to medications
Many patients do not adhere to their medication regimens. Exercise discipline in taking your medications on time and in the suggested manner.
COPD is by no means the end of the world. Despite the challenges you face with COPD, you could still live a life that is enriching and satisfying by making little changes.
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