People with COPD often feel that they can no longer live the life they’re used to. However, by making a few lifestyle changes people with COPD can enjoy fulfilling lifestyles while managing their disease:
- Stop smoking – this is a top priority to help manage your COPD. Your doctor can help you select the best program, strategy or product to help you quit.
- Avoid infections – people with COPD are at a higher risk for respiratory infections which can cause COPD flare-ups. Be sure to wash your hands often with soap and water and carry a hand sanitizer with you. Try to avoid contact with people who are sick with a cold or flu and talk to your doctor about vaccines.
- Eat right – healthy nutritious foods can help strengthen your body and immune system. Try to eat more vegetables, fish, nuts and whole grains. Your doctor can recommend a nutrition plan that best fits your needs and lifestyle.
- Be prepared for emergencies – learn to recognize the signs of a flare-up and keep your doctor’s contact information handy. Put together a list of friends or family members that can help in case you need to go to a medical facility.
- Tend to your emotional needs – if you are experiencing anxiety, stress or depression, talk to your doctor – they can help manage your emotional needs with a variety of approaches, from joining a support group to therapy to medication.
- Stay active – regular exercise helps improve physical and emotional condition and reduce shortness of breath for people with COPD. Talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program and they will be able to recommend the best fitness plan for your needs and lifestyle.