Living with COPD
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a life-threatening lung disease with no known cure. However, if you have been diagnosed with COPD, you may have treatment options that can slow the progression of the disease. The first step is knowing you have the disease. The next step is doing something about it. Depending on the severity of the disease, there are lifestyle changes, therapy options including medications, and surgeries that can all help a COPD patient to breathe easier.
People with COPD need to take extra special care of their lungs. Several lifestyle choices may need to be addressed to improve lung function.
- Quit Smoking – The majority of COPD patients are smokers. Continuing to pollute the lungs will hasten the deterioration process. Secondhand smoke can also damage the lungs. In fact, any form of smoke irritates the lungs, making breathing harder.
- Eat Right – People with COPD have to work harder to breathe normally, so a healthy diet is important.
- Breathe Clean Air – Airborne toxins or pollution (which could have caused the COPD in the first place) also need to be avoided. This could include everyday items such as perfume, hairspray, and cleaning chemicals. Natural products tend to have less toxins and are therefore easier on the lungs.
- Get Exercise – Regular exercise is good for every part of the body, and the lungs are no exception. There are many types of exercises safe for most COPD patients. A doctor should always be consulted, however, before any exercise regimen is attempted.
- Get Vaccinated – Seasonal viruses can cause major problems for the lungs. For a person with COPD, the flu can cause serious complications. Any measure that can be taken to reduce the risk of getting the flu, the better.
In addition to lifestyle changes, these therapies may be recommended by a doctor:
- Pulmonary Therapy
- Lung Rehabilitation.
Every case of COPD is different, so a doctor will need to assess the stage of the disease and individual needs of the patient. Once a therapy plan is in place, it needs to be strictly followed.
COPD gets worse over time, so close monitoring is required. Many patients document their activities, the symptoms they had after engaging in certain activities, or any other information that would help a health care provider make treatment recommendations.
When diagnosed early, people with COPD have a much better outlook. In some cases, the disease can be identified in time to prevent further deterioration. Generally, though, most patients seek help once their breathing has become a major problem. At this later stage, lifestyle changes and therapies can still help to improve the patient’s quality of life and allow them to lead a fairly normal life. If the condition worsens, it can eventually be life-threatening.
Get Tested Early
If you are a smoker over the age of 45, or if you have noticed that you are frequently short of breath while engaging in everyday activities, get tested right away. Early COPD diagnosis and treatment can make a dramatic difference. Asthma & Allergy Associates can test your lung function and provide treatment options if you are diagnosed with COPD. Take action now to preserve your quality of life.