Being diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can change an individual’s lifestyle drastically. Being a progressive, life-threatening lung condition that has caused over 3.17 million deaths globally in 2015, COPD is a disease that should be managed accordingly in order to prevent its symptoms and, eventually, a grim outcome.
Aside from regularly taking maintenance medications, patients are often advised to apply several changes to their lifestyle to keep COPD complications at bay at all costs.
1: Cutting Back on Salt and Dairy
What you eat is a huge factor as to how COPD affects your health. For instance, a heavily salted diet can pose a problem to patients with COPD. Since salt can retain water, it can make breathing more difficult for sufferers of the condition. While a little pinch of salt every now and then should be fine, it’s still recommended to check with your doctor or nutritionist as to how much salt you should be consuming.
Meanwhile, while dairy is a great source of various vitamins and minerals, it is known to increase the production of mucus, which can pose a danger to COPD patients in case of flare-ups. You may try replacing cow’s milk with soy or almond milk instead. It is also advisable to avoid other dairy products such as yogurt, cheese, and butter.
2: Living a Sedentary Lifestyle
While people with COPD tend to have difficulty in breathing, this doesn’t mean they can’t exercise or enjoy certain physical activities. In fact, regular exercise has reaped long-term clinical benefits and saved greatly on healthcare costs among COPD patients. When you’re not active, it’s easy for you to become out of shape and have even more difficulty performing normal day-to-day activities and other things you enjoy.
Exercising, even just for a good thirty minutes most days of the week, does not only strengthen the body physically but also mentally, alleviating symptoms of depression that may plague many COPD patients.
3: Exposure to Dust and Moisture
Many homes collect dust, fumes, and other irritants that tend to aggravate COPD symptoms like coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. When these household hazards are present, COPD patients who also have allergies are at an increased risk of exacerbated symptoms.
To avoid these COPD triggers, be vigilant in cleaning and maintaining your home. Don’t forget to clean the air ducts of the heating and cooling systems periodically. Remove rugs and carpets from the floors as they are a major source of dirt and dust. To inhibit the growth of mold and bacteria, make sure to fix bathroom leaks right away and to give bathrooms and kitchens proper ventilation.
4: Not Getting Enough Sleep
An erratic sleep schedule can negatively damage the health of a healthy person alone—how much more on a patient with COPD? Individuals who are diagnosed with this condition need to keep their immune systems as strong as possible in order to avoid its symptoms and improve their quality of life.
Instead of pulling an all-nighter, go to bed early and wake up early and at the same time each day. This helps the body follow a healthy sleep schedule and give the immune system the boost it needs.
5: Not Taking Your Prescribed Oxygen Treatment
Leaving your oxygen at home when it is part of your treatment plan can take a turn for the worse. This may eventually put excess strain on the hearts of people with low resting saturations. Aside from a delivery system for supplemental oxygen, COPD patients may need their own DS 100a pulse oximeter to help them regularly monitor their oxygen saturation and administer appropriate treatment when needed.
While there are several things and habits to avoid when one has COPD, it’s important to note that this disease should not hinder an individual from living a normal and happy life. With the right medication, lifestyle modifications, and mind-set, people with COPD can live their lives to the fullest too.