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Living with COPD

COPD can be managed, controlled and slowed down, even though it is considered a chronic, debilitating and sometimes fatal disease. It really is mostly under your control. It is possible to lead a very good and long life, with a great deal of quality and joy left even following that diagnosis. The most important factors contributing to a longer and healthier lifestyle include, but are not limited to:
  • Early accurate detection

    • Pulmonary Function Test (Spirometry) is the primary diagnostic too

    • All COPD patients should also be tested for Alpha 1

  • Find a knowledgeable healthcare provider - preferably a pulmonary specialist

    • You and your healthcare providers need to work together as a team

  • Stop smoking

    • This is considered the single most important step in your treatment program

  • Follow your medication regimen faithfully - Even though you are feeling "fine" for periods of time, it is important to continue to take the prescribed medicines. Many are actually maintenance medications, designed to stabilize your COPD.

  • Diet and food preparation are special problems for those of us who have COPD

    • Bill Horden's An SOB In The Kitchen" is a survivorís guide through a healthy kitchen

  • Exercise regularly
    Avoid the downward spiral of becoming short of breath, so you want to do less ---- doing less allows your physical condition to deteriorate which means there is less muscle efficiency with the limited oxygen --- so you get short of breath faster, which makes you want to do even less. On and on that downward spiral continues - you then are able to do less and less --- on and on till you can't do much of anything. You become almost completely immobile and possibly even bed ridden.

    • Pulmonary Rehab (referral needed by your doctor)

      • Reduces respiratory symptoms (shortness of breath)

      • Improves your mental and emotional outlook

      • Educates you about your disease so you can better deal with its variables

      • Increases your stamina with exercise

      • Enhances your ability to perform activities of daily living

        • Continue a maintenance exercise program after rehab to avoid deconditioning

  • Join a support group for persons with COPD

    • There may be a local area group that meets monthly

    • Join or visit one of the online support groups

      • Interactive support provides a wealth of experience from COPD patients

      • Often they have already dealt with many of your fears

  • Educate yourself about every aspect of your disease

    • Including its related problems, medicines and procedures

  • Keep accurate notes about your condition, including copies of all your tests

  • Take infection prevention steps to limit exacerbations which can lead to additional lung damage

    • Many doctors will prescribe antibiotics to keep on hand at home

    • Learn under what circumstances to immediately begin taking these

    • Be sure to get Flu and Pneumonia shots

Living with COPD Series:
  Bathing and Grooming
Conserving Energy
Gardening and yard work
In the Bedroom
In the Kitchen

Shopping
Traveling with COPD

 

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