Being diagnosed with a breathing condition, including emphysema and/or chronic bronchitis, doesn’t mean you have to stop living your life.
You can start making these changes today to better manage your condition:
DEFENDING YOURSELF FROM INFECTIONS
People with COPD are at higher risk for lung infections, which can trigger flare-ups. Wash your hands often, avoid contact with people who are sick, and talk to your doctor about a yearly flu vaccine and whether the pneumonia vaccine is right for you.
GETTING GOOD NUTRITION
Eating right keeps your body and immune system strong, which is key in COPD. Eat more foods like fruits, vegetables, fish, and whole grains. Cut back on foods like red meat and sugar. Avoid any foods that you have known allergies to.
STAYING PHYSICALLY ACTIVE
Studies show that exercise can help improve tolerance for physical activity. Ask your doctor what kind of exercise program may be right for you. Also ask about pulmonary rehabilitation, a program of exercise and education that has been shown to help people with breathing conditions such as COPD.
Become familiar with the signs of a flare-up. Know the nearest hospital you can go to for treatment. Keep the phone numbers of your doctor, hospital, and loved ones, as well as directions to the nearest hospital, on hand. And always keep a list of all your medications ready to give to any health care provider who may need to give you emergency aid.
TENDING TO YOUR EMOTIONAL NEEDS
People with COPD can often feel isolated, anxious, or depressed. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you feel this way. Communicate openly with your friends and family about your feelings. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Smoking is the number one cause of emphysema and chronic bronchitis, together known as COPD. Quitting isn’t easy, but there are more options available today than ever before. Work with your doctor to find a quitting strategy that works for you.