Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) can be exhausting and often gets in the way of everyday activity. Read on to learn some ways to help ease your symptoms and do more with your day.
To combat breathlessness and the anxiety that can come with it, people with COPD have a number of strategies they can practice. In terms of breathing strategies in particular, there are four key benefits, including helping to break the dyspnea cycle:
- Breathing exercises can promote relaxation.
- Breathing exercises can reduce shortness of breath.
- Breathing exercises slow down a person’s breathing.
- Breathing exercises can help to get rid of the trapped air that is a problem for people with COPD.
And, when practiced during daily activities, these strategies can also help people with COPD get back into the habit of more exercise, and that's hugely beneficial for their overall health.
Read more about breathing exercises for COPD here.
2. Consistent Physical Therapy
One way to help you manage the symptoms of your COPD and improve your lung health is by seeing a physical therapist. They can help you to increase your exercise capacity, physical strength, and improve your overall quality of life. Building physical therapy into your pulmonary rehabilitation plan will allow you to learn individualized exercises and strength-building methods.
3. Look into the Air Quality in Your Home
Air pollution (like gas fumes, smog, and smoke) outdoors is a well-known trigger for those with COPD. There may also be factors in the air of your home that are causing your COPD symptoms to be worse. These include allergens like pet dander, dust, mold, and pollen. You can reduce these allergens in your home by vacuuming and dusting furniture and surfaces frequently.
4. Examine Ways to Reduce Stress
Living with COPD often leads to increased stress in your daily life. Chronic stress may lead to a worsening of your symptoms. Some ways to reduce stress levels are regular physical activity (which also helps improve lung strength), practicing breathing techniques, meditation, getting good sleep, eating well, and having a good support system. You should also talk to your doctor about your stress levels so they can recommend solutions.
5. Keep Up with Regular Doctor Appointments
Keeping up with your doctor and care team appointments is important because it allows your team to adjust your treatment as necessary. Working with a variety of specialists helps you to keep track of all areas of your wellbeing. A treatment plan that works for your lifestyle can be developed by your care team and seeing them regularly to address issues as they arise can prevent worsening of your symptoms.
6. Quit Smoking
Smoking is one of the primary causes of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It’s also a major trigger for flare-ups. According to lung.org, approximately 85 – 90% of COPD cases are caused by smoking. Smoking is addicting, and quitting can be very difficult. Learn some tips to help you quit here.
7. Consider Using PEP Buddy
PEP Buddy is an easy-to-use, hands-free breathing device that relieves breathlessness.
Among people with COPD/Emphysema, 72% of people experienced a significant reduction in their shortness of breath or breathlessness thanks to PEP Buddy. Better breathing leads to improved quality of life and the ability to do more and be more active.
PEP Buddy may prevent significant declines in blood oxygen levels during activity. The use of PEP Buddy improves the oxygen level in 36% of people with COPD who drop their blood oxygen levels during exercise.
PEP Buddy: Better Breathing, Backed by Science
PEP Buddy is a simple, portable, clinically proven medical device that reduces breathlessness so you can increase your activity level. PEP Buddy can also help to prevent significant declines in blood oxygen levels during activity.
This blog is for educational purposes only; talk to your provider to understand recommendations specific to you.