Life can be a challenge when you have COPD. Simple everyday tasks can become difficult. COPD condition is progressive one, meaning there’s no cure. However, there are exercises, treatments and diet to help you manage your condition easier.
- Do not smoke. This is the most important step you can take to prevent more damage to your lungs. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor about stop-smoking programs and medicines. These can increase your chances of quitting for good.
- Avoid colds and flu. Get a pneumococcal vaccine shot. If you have had one before, ask your doctor whether you need a second dose. Get the flu vaccine every autumn. If you must be around people with colds or the flu, wash your hands often.
- Avoid second-hand smoke, air pollution, and high altitudes. Also avoid cold, dry air and hot, humid air. Stay at home with your windows closed when air pollution is bad.
Medicines and oxygen therapy
- Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.
- You may be taking medicines such as:
- These helps open your airways and make breathing easier. Bronchodilators are either short-acting (work for 6 to 9 hours) or long-acting (work for 24 hours). You inhale most bronchodilators, so they start to act quickly. Always carry your quick-relief inhaler with you in case you need it while you are away from home.
- Corticosteroids (prednisilone, budesonide). These reduce airway inflammation. They come in pill or inhaled form. You must take these medicines every day for them to work well.
- A spacer may help you get more inhaled medicine to your lungs. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if a spacer is right for you. If it is, ask how to use it properly.
- Do not take any vitamins, over-the-counter medicine, or herbal products without talking to your doctor first.
- If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.
- Oxygen therapy boosts the amount of oxygen in your blood and helps you breathe easier. Use the flow rate your doctor has recommended, and do not change it without talking to your doctor first.
- Get regular exercise. Walking is an easy way to get exercise. Start out slowly and walk a little more each day.
- Pay attention to your breathing. You are exercising too hard if you cannot talk while you are exercising.
- Take short rest breaks when doing household chores and other activities.
- Learn breathing methods—such as breathing through pursed lips—to help you become less short of breath.
- If your doctor has not set you up with a pulmonary rehabilitation program, talk to him or her about whether rehab is right for you. Rehab includes exercise programs, education about your disease and how to manage it, help with diet and other changes, and emotional support.
- Eat regular, healthy meals. Use bronchodilators about 1 hour before you eat to make it easier to eat. Eat several small meals instead of three large ones. Drink beverages at the end of the meal. Avoid foods that are hard to chew.
- Eat foods that contain protein so that you do not lose muscle mass.
- Talk with your doctor if you gain too much weight or if you lose weight without trying.
- Talk to your family, friends, or a therapist about your feelings. It is normal to feel frightened, angry, hopeless, helpless, and even guilty. Talking openly about bad feelings can help you cope. If these feelings last, talk to your doctor.
It can be hard to accept that you have COPD. It’s normal to feel sad or angry. At totally Health, we want to help people feel more motivated, confident and in control of managing their own health, so they can make changes that help them feel better.
We help people with all types of cancer related health issues. We are here for you – when you need us. We listen. We understand. We help. We want you to live your life to the full, feel good and take charge of your health.
If you would like to know more about our service and how we could help you, please call 0333 004 0043.