Coping with COPD

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) includes; Asthma, Emphysema and Chronic Bronchitis.Although people can live many years with this condition, behind heart disease and cancer, COPD is the third most frequent cause of death in the U.S.

Changes in strength, breathing and physical activity (stamina) will occur over time resulting in more weakness, difficulty in breathing and a decrease in physical activity. These variations in ability will affect lifestyle and also affect the family as a whole.As a person experiences the gradual effects of COPD they will likely experience limits to their routine activities, workload and social outings. Though a degenerative disease, symptoms can be coped with.

The trick is to get into a healthier routine, employ in-home caregivers when needed, and consult with experts in your community and medical team who can help connect you with the services you need.

Improve your quality of life by:

  • Staying informed about the newest science of COPD, and share the information with your family and friends.
  • Trying a Support Group, for yourself or your caregiver.
  • Checking with your doctor about what type of exercise regimen is best for you – then do it regularly.
  • Letting people around you know that perfumes, lotions and even cleaning materials – anything with a strong scent can aggravate symptoms and make breathing harder.
  • Quit smoking if you still smoke and let those around you know that you cannot breathe around smoke.
  • Eating healthy foods; meals and snacking. Add vegetables, salads, fruits into your diet. Limit your sugar and salt intake.  Better nutrition leads to more energy. Speak to a nutritionist or dietitian and create new menus.

The entire list is difficult to incorporate into your lifestyle all at once but very doable in steps. The people in your life can help too. Private duty care can be very helpful if you live alone or if your spouse is unable to help with physical caregiving. Learn more about certified home health aides, and partner with others to improve your well-being as you manage with COPD.