What is COPD?
COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. It includes a group of lung diseases that block airflow and make it difficult to breathe, such as Emphysema and Bronchitis. Symptoms include shortness of breath and chronic cough especially with mucus. Emphysema can damage the lungs and make them enlarge over time, causing breathlessness. There are 4 stages of COPD, depending on how severe it is. As COPD progresses, it can make breathing 10 to 20 times harder than for someone with normal lungs. Doctors use imaging tests, lung function tests, and blood tests to diagnose COPD.
How can I manage my COPD?
Managing COPD means keeping your breathing regular and staying healthy. Staying healthy includes selecting nourishing foods and drinks everyday.
What can you do?
Talk with your doctor about how to best manage your symptoms and what causes them.
Some things your care plan should include are:
- Give up smoking
- Eat right and exercise
- Get rest
- Take your medications correctly
- Stress management – stress can trigger or make your COPD symptoms worse
Other things you can do to help manage your COPD are:
- Use oxygen appropriately
- Retrain your breathing
- Reduce stress
- Quit smoking
- Learn techniques to bring up mucus
- Make an action plan in case of emergency
Discuss your COPD care plan with your provider
Being diagnosed with COPD can be a very stressful. Creating an action plan with your doctor can be the first step to coping with this diagnosis. Your plan needs to take into account your schedule, how active you are, your cultural background, your mental health and other medical problems you may have. You need to be involved in creating your COPD care plan. Otherwise it’s unlikely that the plan will fit into your life or that you will understand what you need to do. Find more information and resources to help manage your COPD.