Simple Modifications to Improve Living with COPD
The individuals who cope with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) make vital decisions on a daily basis. These choices have the power to help or hurt the person’s current condition. The following lifestyle modifications are a few ways to regain control of life, in spite of COPD.
Avoid Acquiring Additional Illnesses
An illness such as the common cold can easily irritate a preexisting condition such as COPD. Consistent hand hygiene may decrease the risk for obtaining an infection. Increasing daily hygiene includes:
- Washing hands after using the restroom
- Blowing the nose
- Before eating or meal preparation
Simply increasing hand-washing frequency may decrease COPD exacerbations related to illnesses.
Make Health a Priority
When a person prolongs a visit to a healthcare provider, the condition may continue to plummet, This could eventually result in more interventions than initially needed. Signs of a COPD exacerbation may include:
- Decreased breathing capability
- Increased amount of sputum
- Fatigue or difficulty sleeping
- Decreased exercise tolerance
COPD symptoms vary, and it is a good idea to seek professional assistance at the first signs of COPD worsening.
Continue Medications as Prescribed
A professional healthcare provider may prescribe medications to open the airways of a client with COPD. It is essential to understand the reason for taking these medications. If there is question in regards to the intended effects and potential side effects of a medication, always ask. Being knowledgeable about expected outcomes will help tailor medications to individual needs.
Be Aware of Mental Health
While COPD is a physiological alteration in the body, many psychological components may come with the diagnosis. Difficulty breathing can cause anxiety, and it may occur unexpectedly. The psychological aspects may present as:
- Feeling tense or unable to relax
- Withdrawing from social events
- Avoiding parts of the daily routine
- Feeling a heavy sense of loss or sadness
Awareness of one’s limits in regards to exercise and daily activities can result in a higher quality of life. If activities of daily living become more difficult due to breathing difficulty, therapy may be appropriate.
Living with COPD may be intense at times. Hygiene, follow-up care, medications and mental health are all factors which influence a person living with COPD. While many people think COPD is under control, there is always room for improvement. Implementing these lifestyle decisions can help people manage this chronic condition, ultimately resulting in a higher quality of life.