MCRN Health Talk: Living Healthier with COPD | Weekend magazine
If you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), daily activities can be a challenge as the disease affects your ability to breathe properly. But by taking steps to take care of your health and manage your condition effectively, there’s no need to let COPD get in the way of living your best life.
Here are some do’s and don’ts if you have COPD:
– Do not smoke. One of the best ways to protect your lungs and keep your COPD from getting worse is to quit smoking if you still smoke.
— Exercise regularly. You may think you can’t exercise if you have COPD, but exercise is another great thing you can do for your lungs. Low to moderate intensity exercise helps strengthen the lungs and can increase the amount of oxygen in your body. Of course, always check with your doctor before starting any new activity to make sure it’s safe to do so.
— Follow a healthy diet. COPD can deplete your energy, so to maintain high energy levels, it’s best to eat several small meals throughout the day instead of a few large ones. Follow a well-balanced diet that prioritizes foods rich in fiber and vitamins, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Don’t eat too much salt, as it can cause you to retain fluids, which can increase the amount of mucus in your lungs. Dairy products, fried foods, alcohol, and caffeine can also exacerbate symptoms. Drink plenty of fluids.
– Do not skip sex. Another thing you may think you can’t do if you have COPD is have sex, but most people with the condition can still benefit from this activity. You can use an inhaler a few minutes before you start or use oxygen during sex if needed. Just listen to your body, relax and have fun.
— Practice breathing exercises. By doing regular breathing exercises, you can help increase the amount of oxygen circulating in your lungs. These exercises are also good for reducing stress and anxiety, which people with COPD can experience when their breathing is difficult.
— Take precautions to avoid illness. When you have COPD, there’s a higher chance of developing complications from illnesses like a cold, the flu, or COVID-19. So take steps to protect yourself, like getting recommended vaccines (including flu, pneumonia, and COVID-19), washing your hands often, wearing a mask when around groups of people, and avoiding anyone who is sick. .
— Prevent allergy flare-ups. Many people with COPD also have allergies. If you’re one of them, avoid allergy triggers like pollen, dust, and pet dander. Talk to your doctor about what you can do to effectively treat your allergies so they don’t make COPD symptoms worse.
— Do not spend time near lung irritants. Since people with COPD have more sensitive lungs, the presence of any type of irritant can make the situation worse. Avoid things like second-hand smoke, air pollution, dust and fumes from chemicals, paint or cleaning products, and mold and mildew.
If you are living with COPD, consider a pulmonary rehabilitation program like the one offered at Rutland Regional Medical Center. A typical program lasts about eight weeks and can help you learn to control, reduce, and relieve your symptoms. Pulmonary rehabilitation takes place every Monday and Friday afternoon from 1 to 3 p.m. Exercise and education can help you improve your quality of life, increase your exercise tolerance, increase your independence in activities of daily living, and reduce the use of medical resources. Learn more at RRMC.org/services/respiratory-pulmonology online.
This week’s Health Talk was adapted from Baldwin Publishing, 2023, all rights reserved.