Taking charge of your life with COPD
Being diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD can be very unsettling. This inflammatory disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs has no cure. However, there are ways to slow the progression of the disease.
Here are five ways to manage COPD for a better quality of life.
Make needed lifestyle changes
Although you may have been able to do it all in the past, life with COPD requires some adjustments. If your job requires a lot of physical activity, you may need to make changes or even find a new job. Evaluate daily lifestyle tasks and look for ways to reduce those that are most physically taxing. It may mean paying someone to mow the lawn or asking family members to help with household chores. Learn to listen to your body and when you are very tired and out of breath, take a break and think about ways to avoid overexertion.
Establish a network of support
A COPD diagnosis can be overwhelming and depressing. Instead of keeping your fears and concerns to yourself, find a trusted friend, a professional counselor or a support group who understands your situation. When cutting back on activities, be careful not to isolate yourself from others. You still need friends and meaningful activity in your life. Identify friends and family who can help you when you are having a rough day. Set a realistic schedule and do your best to get up and be active every day.
Team up with your doctor
Your doctor is ready to help you manage symptoms and he or she can be more effective if you are a good communicator. Make a list of questions before going to see the doctor and write down the responses. Record health changes in a journal and share it with the doctor. Follow the doctor’s instructions and take all medications as directed. Communication is important for effective treatment.
Stress is never a welcome emotion, but it is even more troublesome for people with COPD. Uncontrolled stress can make COPD symptoms worse, so take steps to recognize things that create stress and look for ways to manage them. Develop relaxation exercises to help calm your emotions. Walking can help reduce stress. Find the methods that work best and employ them during times of stress.
Work on a healthy lifestyle
Begin by looking for ways to eat healthier. Fast foods and snacks with refined sugars provide a lot of calories and very little nutrition. These empty calories can make you feel sluggish and out of energy. Make the decision to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats. Find ways to get some light exercise each day. Keep a schedule that includes a good night’s sleep. Try to stick to a routine of going to bed and rising at the same time each day. Make your health a priority.
Take extra care when medical events occur
COPD can make recovery from illness or surgery even more challenging. This is the reason people with COPD may decide to recover in a short-term care facility where breathing issues can be monitored and health concerns can be addressed quickly. Staff can provide respiratory therapy, physical therapy, wound care and whatever else is needed, which can help speed recovery and prevent re-hospitalization.
When it is time for expert care, consider Glenview Terrace, where the focus is always to help get you back to the independent lifestyle you desire. Focusing on healthcare excellence and safety, Glenview Terrace provides the latest infection-control precautions, including routine COVID-19 testing and monitoring. Glenview Terrace is also ranked among the top 1% of all post-hospital rehabilitation and nursing care centers in Illinois by Newsweek— and has earned the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval certification for post-hospital and post-surgical care. For additional information or to arrange a personalized virtual tour, visit glenviewterrace.com or call 847-729-9090.
— J. Buchenot for Glenview TerraceBack