Best Practices When Living With COPD
Healthy living requires a conscious effort from anyone and everyone. However, when we talk about someone with chronic disease, healthy living takes on another meaning, and the effort required also increases with the severity of the disease.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) shows up regularly in the patient’s life as a bout of breathlessness and coughing. The breathlessness, in turn, causes weakness, chest tightness, and later reductions in weight.
Once someone gets COPD, it becomes one of their responsibilities that they actively try to live healthy to keep their lungs healthy.
The better you feel, the less COPD will impact your life physically and mentally.
Self-Care Best Practices With COPD
Self-care in COPD means recognizing the needs of your respiratory system to the fullest. Once you practice self-love with COPD, you will look out for your respiratory system. You would slow down and think if your action is good for your body. In self-care with COPD, you would take the time to learn about COPD. You will do some of the following things.
- You will learn about all the triggers and then you will avoid them. Educating oneself about COPD triggers is important.
- Stay away from smoke-filled spaces.
- Avoid taking your body through stress-inducing daily practices.
- Make sure to keep up with your medicines. As someone who cares about their health, you would not simply modify medication times as per your moods.
- Take interest in going to your physician regularly, as per your appointments.
- Update your vaccinations yearly because you recognize that a newer variant of a virus might attack your system.
- Visit your physician whenever you feel like there is a lung infection brewing. You can feel this with a spike in your temperature, increasing bouts of coughing and breathlessness.
- Talk to your physician about the different treatment options if there were exacerbations even with your medications and precautions.
- If you have been allowed supplemental oxygen, you will take care of your oxygen tank or an oxygen concentrator.
- You will make sure to charge your portable oxygen concentrator so that you have easy access to oxygen whenever you need it.
- Make sure to monitor your blood oxygen levels as well, in order to be aware of your body’s oxygen needs. Get a pulse oximeter and keep it on hand.
- Learn your required doses for supplemental oxygen use because excessive use can be dangerous to your health.
- You will further ask your physician about the exercises that you can do to increase your body’s functions with COPD.
- You will do exercises as suggested by your healthcare provider. These exercises can include breathing exercises as well as physical training to increase lung capacity.
- You will consume food that is healthy for your lungs and body. Healthy food leads to healthy lungs and healthy lungs will lead to a healthy body.
- You will keep yourself hydrated. Learn why staying hydrated is good for you here
Plan and Execute to Reduce Breathlessness
One of the best things that you can do to reduce the sudden onset of breathlessness is to plan your day. Only you know how much work you can do before your COPD symptoms show up. You know what issues you face regularly. Hence, you can easily plan. Try to reduce the issues that may arise around the day.
Have to go somewhere busy, reach early to get a head start. Need to do some heavy lifting? Plan by reducing the workload into smaller bite-sized chunks. Reduce the stress on your body by planning ahead. You can still have relatively healthy lungs by lowering the number of triggering events.
Buy a Portable Oxygen Concentrator
Once your COPD worsens and they prescribe you supplemental oxygen, it is best if you opt for an oxygen concentrator. While oxygen tanks can provide you with the same function, their oxygen supply is finite. You will need to buy another oxygen tank once your current tank has been emptied.
Oxygen Concentrator can filter out the ambient oxygen in the atmosphere for you. As long as an oxygen concentrator works, you get up to 96% pure oxygen. Portable Oxygen Concentrator help even further because they don’t even require electricity constantly. You can charge the portable oxygen concentrator and it will run for hours.
Once you’ve got your own source of oxygen, take care of it. Further, talk to your healthcare provider about it so that they can give you instructions about use.
Improve your Breathing by Using Air Humidifier
When you get COPD, you get bouts of coughing whenever you end up in an area with dry air. While it is not possible to humidify every area that you visit, you can certainly make your residence humid. Invest in an air humidifier for your own sake. The humid air would allow you to breathe smoothly without triggering coughing and breathlessness. The excessively dry air can trigger bronchitis, you can avoid this by making the air moist.
Don’t Hesitate to Ask For Help
It is especially necessary in cases where the patient has an advanced disease that they know their body’s limitations. It is alright if you need help with moving across a space or if you need help in putting down something. Over-exertion and bowing down can trigger coughing and difficulty in breathing. It is best if you avoid some positions. Ask for help so that your body doesn’t suffer needlessly.
Take a Break
Understand your limitations and don’t be ashamed to slow down at a workstation. Get different resting points installed all over your residence to help you take a break. COPD can disrupt anyone’s daily routine. This slowing down will help you reduce the difficulty in breathing. Calm down at your resting station and then get right back up. While this practice will not bring back healthy lungs, it will help reduce breathlessness.
Living with COPD is hard. Research indicates that when the patients don’t get good results with medication, they fall into depression. It is imperative that one gets as much education about COPD as they can from their healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider would provide you with the information that is best suited to your condition.
You can still improve your lung’s health even though you cannot reverse your COPD. You can reduce the difficulty in breathing that you feel. Your symptoms can stay in your control if you attempt to take care of yourself. If your healthcare provider suggests that you use supplemental oxygen, take care of your oxygen tank or portable oxygen concentrator.