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6 Tips for Managing Your COPD

6 Tips for Managing Your COPD

It’s estimated that 16 million people living in the United States suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This health condition makes it difficult to breathe while at rest, and it makes engaging in activities even more difficult.

At Health Solutions in Tinley Park, Rockford, and Olympia Fields, Illinois, and Munster, Indiana, our expert providers offer excellent primary care and help managing long-term health conditions. In this blog, we explain some ways that can help you manage COPD. 

Understanding COPD

COPD is a chronic inflammatory lung disease in which airflow to the lungs is obstructed. This condition can be brought on by a number of conditions, such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and smoking.

With this condition, you may feel out of breath most or all of the time. Furthermore, you may have trouble taking deep breaths, and you may experience frequent and prolonged bouts of coughing and wheezing due to all of the mucus that builds up in your lungs and respiratory passages. 

While COPD is chronic, you may be able to make lifestyle changes to help improve your breathing and quality of life.

Managing COPD

Here are six things you can do to help manage your condition:

1. Give your lungs some strength

The first thing you can do to combat the symptoms of COPD is exercise your lungs. You can do this by using pulmonary rehabilitation. This involves learning how to control and improve your breathing through exercises, such as breathing through pursed lips or taking deep slow breaths from your lower abdomen. 

2. Quit smoking

While you don’t have to smoke in order to have COPD, smoking is, in fact, the leading cause of this condition. If you do smoke, and you’re diagnosed with COPD, now’s the time to give it up. Should you choose to keep smoking, the cigarette smoke can trigger COPD flare-ups. 

3. Improve your diet

Your bodily functions, including breathing, need nutrients from the foods you eat in order to do their jobs properly. When you eat foods that are high in carbs, they create more carbon dioxide in your system, and the way it leaves your body is through exhalation.

So, because having COPD already makes breathing more difficult, switching to a diet that’s lower in carbs can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide your body needs to get rid of. This will, in turn, lessen the load on your respiratory system. 

4. Start exercising

You may avoid vigorous exercise since breathing hard can trigger COPD symptoms. But, if you can find a way to consistently move your body, you can keep your circulation going, support your pulmonary system, and make breathing easier. We suggest doing light resistance training, walking, cycling on a stationary bike, or doing water aerobics. 

5. Get vaccinated

COPD puts you at a higher risk for developing lung infections and other lung health complications. Getting your immunizations when they’re due can help prevent you from getting an illness that could be life-threatening. It’s especially beneficial to stay on top of vaccines for the flu and other respiratory infections. 

6. See your physician regularly

It’s especially vital to never skip your annual exams or follow-ups after office visits for your COPD. Managing this illness is best done as a team, and we’re here to help. 

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with COPD, or if you’re having trouble managing your symptoms, book an appointment online or over the phone with Health Solutions today.

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