Living with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) is challenging, but is certainly not something that should get in the way of everyday life. Learning to deal with the physical and emotional challenges takes time, but by learning to manage your COPD you can enhance the quality of your life. Here are a few tips and tools that can help you manage your COPD and find the necessary support.
Managing Your COPD
The sooner you create a management plan for your COPD, the sooner you can get back to your normal routine. Learning about your medication, nutrition and exercise plans, and other healthcare needs will help you manage your COPD. Here’s what you can do:
Protect Your Lungs — COPD weakens your lungs. You need to avoid exposure to any irritants that could worsen or exacerbate your COPD. Avoid smoking and second-hand smoke, steer clear of poor air quality and do not expose yourself to any dust or fumes. You also should make sure you do your best to avoid any infections by washing your hands regularly, get vaccinated, and avoid large crowds and anyone that is sick.
Make a Plan — After being diagnosed with COPD, you and your doctor will develop a management plan that works best for you. Once your plan is in place, you will have a clear understanding of how and when to take medications, why and when to call your doc, and when you should seek emergency medical attention. This plan will also help you track how you feel, any questions or concerns you have, and any noticeable health changes.
Medications — Your doctor may prescribe you with medications to treat your COPD. There is no one-size-fits-all medication when it comes to COPD. You and your doctor will work together to prescribe the best “cocktail” of medications for you.
Learn to Breathe Better — Diseases like COPD can leave you feeling breathless but with a couple of exercises, you can better your breathing. Learn more about bettering your breathing techniques here.
A COPD diagnosis is a major moment in one’s life and getting the support to deal with the metal, emotional, and physical changes you will experience is very important. Here’s what you can do:
Be Aware — Anxiety and depression are common among those with COPD. If you are already at risk of these or start to experience anxiety or depression, talk to your doctor immediately. Doing so will not only help increase your mood but will help you stick with your COPD Management Plan.
Take Care of Yourself — Support yourself by taking care of yourself. Make sure you stay active, eat well, and do the things you love with people you love. Make time for you. Manage your stress levels by relaxing or distracting.
Keep Communication Open — Talk to your doctor, talk to your family and friends, or connect with others living with COPD. You are not in this alone and should let others help carry your load. Your doctor can help you find support groups or a counselor.
If you have any questions or concerns about living with COPD, be sure to contact your health care provider today.