Living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) doesn’t mean you have to stop living your life. Being on the correct medication and oxygen treatment regime is crucial but there are some tips on lifestyle changes that you can make to help you manage the disease.
Smoking is the number one cause of chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Together these diseases comprise COPD. If you haven’t already quit, it’s very important to take steps to stop smoking. Talk to your doctor about smoking cessation strategies.
If nicotine withdrawal is a concern, your doctor may be able to prescribe nicotine replacement therapy to help you slowly wean yourself off. Products include gum, inhalers, and patches.
People with COPD should avoid all inhaled irritants such as air pollution, dust, or smoke from wood-burning fireplaces.
Defend Against Infections
People with COPD are at risk for respiratory infections, which can trigger flare-ups. Infections that affect the airways can often be avoided with good hand-washing hygiene. Cold viruses, for instance, are often passed through touch. Simple soap and running water do a good job of removing potentially infectious germs.
It may also be helpful to avoid contact with people who show signs of cold or flu. Your doctor may also recommend an annual flu vaccine.
Focus on Good Nutrition
Eating right is an important way to keep your body and your immune system strong. It may be helpful to eat smaller meals, more often. Try to eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, olive oil, and whole grains. Cut back on red meat, sugar, and processed foods. Following this dietary pattern has been shown to help reduce chronic inflammation, while supplying plenty of fibre, antioxidants, and other nutrients to help keep you healthy.
Your doctor may also recommend nutritional supplements to ensure you’re getting the essential nutrients you need.
Tend to Your Emotional Needs
People living with disabling diseases such as COPD occasionally succumb to anxiety, stress, or depression. Be sure to discuss any emotional issues with your doctor as they may be able to prescribe medications to help you cope or also recommend other approaches to help you cope. This might include meditation, special breathing techniques, or joining a support group. Be open with friends and family about your state of mind and your concerns and let them help in any way they can.
Stay Active and Physically Fit
Research shows that exercise training can improve exercise tolerance and improve quality of life among people with mild to moderate COPD. It can also help provide relief from shortness of breath and improve your mental well-being.
Asking for portable oxygen devices from your supplier can aid you in being more mobile and to have oxygen with you whilst you exercise or carry out more strenuous activities.