COPD coughingLiving with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) isn’t always easy, as simply breathing can prove to be a significant challenge.

However, there are a number of lifestyle changes you can make to improve your quality of life. Embassy Healthcare offers the following suggestions to make living with COPD more manageable.

 

  1. Stop smoking: This has to be the No. 1 change. Smoking is the leading cause of emphysema and chronic bronchitis, which together amount to COPD. If you’re still smoking, there’s nothing more important you can do to improve your health. Talk with your physicians about strategies to quit the habit, which may include nicotine replacement therapies to get over the addiction. Further, avoid the inhalation of all irritants such as pollution, dust and smoke from fireplaces or fire pits.
  2. Improve your diet: Improving your nutrition will help strengthen your immune system and stay healthier in the face of COPD. Eat a diet with ample amounts of vegetables, fruits, nuts, fish, whole grains and olive oil – an assortment of foods that are known as the Mediterranean diet. These foods have been proven to minimize inflammation and provide plenty of antioxidants, fiber and nutrients to promote good health.
  3. Protect yourself: COPD increases your risk of respiratory infections, but these can be avoided or minimized with vigilant hand-washing hygiene. Because cold viruses are passed through touch, it’s important to wash your hands frequently when in public places. Try to avoid contact with those who seem to be ill, and check with your doctor about getting the influenza vaccination. Have hand sanitizer available.
  4. Get your exercise: Increasing physical activity has been shown to provide relief from shortness of breath for people with mild to moderate COPD. Getting started slowly can help improve your tolerance of exercise, making it easier to stay active.
  5. Don’t forget your emotional health: COPD sometimes causes people to experience bouts of depression, stress or anxiety. Mention any such feelings to your doctor, who may be able to prescribe medication or suggest other treatments such as meditation or joining a support group.

For more information on COPD, visit the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website.

Embassy Healthcare’s pulmonary and respiratory care program is available to all residents, both short-term and long-term. For more information, call us at 888-975-1379 or contact us online.