6 Small Changes That Can Help COPD Patients Lead an Active Life
Common symptoms of COPD include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightening.
Common symptoms of COPD include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightening.(Photo: iStock/Altered by FIT)
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6 Small Changes That Can Help COPD Patients Lead an Active Life

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD is a progressive lung disease characterised by increasing breathlessness. Some of the most common symptoms include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightening.

This condition is incurable and there are times when it may limit your ability to perform routine day-to-day activities. However, with the right diagnosis and treatment, COPD can be managed well and you can go about living life as usual.

By introducing the following small (but effective) lifestyle changes, those living with COPD can lead an active and healthy life.

1. Stay Active and Manage Your Weight

Staying active and keeping your weight under control by regular exercises improves circulation and helps your body use oxygen efficiently. It is also advisable for COPD patients to eat a well-balanced and nutrient-rich diet so they can go about their routine without any interruptions.

2. Get the Flu Vaccine

COPD patients should get themselves vaccinated against the flu from time to time.
COPD patients should get themselves vaccinated against the flu from time to time.
(Photo: iStockphoto)

COPD patients typically experience flare-ups, also known as exacerbations, during which their symptoms worsen. This can last several days and is often triggered by bacterial or viral infections. That’s why it’s essential that those living with COPD get themselves vaccinated against the flu from to time. This reduces incidents of flare-ups.

3. Breathe Clean Air

If you’re a COPD patient, ensure you breathe air that is largely free of pollutants.
If you’re a COPD patient, ensure you breathe air that is largely free of pollutants.
(Photo: iStockphoto)

This is not always in your hands, but as far as possible, those with COPD should breathe clean air given that pollution can act as a major trigger. Installing an air purifier at home and wearing a mask when outside are some of the ways to ensure you that the air you breathe is largely free of pollutants.

4. Avoid Stress

As is the case with a lot of illnesses, COPD too is worsened by stress. That’s why it’s best advised that COPD patients exercise regularly, get a good night’s sleep and engage in any activity that acts as a stress buster.

5. Give Up Smoking

If you have COPD, you must kick the smoking habit to avoid flare-ups. Giving up smoking also slows the progression of the condition. As far as possible, those with COPD should also avoid second-hand smoking because even that can worsen their condition.

6. Practise Different Breathing Techniques

By practising different breathing techniques, you learn how to conserve your breath and stay active for longer periods. In the long run, this also enhances the quality of your life and keeps COPD symptoms in check.

While all the above changes are related to your everyday lifestyle, one important aspect that concerns the clinical management of people with COPD is ‘pulmonary rehabilitation’.

As part of pulmonary rehabilitation, you work with professionals who assess the severity of your condition and tailor your therapy accordingly.

Through exercise, education and support, these professionals improve the psychological and physical well-being of COPD patients. They teach you about breathing techniques, nutrition, medication, avoiding COPD flare-ups and coping with changes that this condition usually brings along.

‘Pulmonary rehabilitation’ is an important part of COPD treatment.
‘Pulmonary rehabilitation’ is an important part of COPD treatment.
(Photo: iStockphoto)

Along with introducing simple changes and undergoing pulmonary rehabilitation, what truly lets COPD patients lead an independent lifestyle is the portable oxygen concentrator (POC). This device supplements your oxygen supply and lets you lead an active life.

Here is where a reliable brand such as Philips comes in. The company manufactures POCs that are compact, lightweight, cost-effective and durable. You can carry them with you wherever you go as they give you the much-needed freedom to perform all your tasks without any hindrances.

So the next time your friends or family make a plan, you don’t have to have to opt out of it because of COPD. Go along and enjoy life as anyone would do. As for your supplementary oxygen needs are concerned, Philips has you covered.

Remember: don’t let COPD dictate your lifestyle, instead, let it be the other way round.

Disclaimer: This is a COPD Awareness Initiative by Philips. Philips makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, with regard to the accuracy or completeness of information, content or materials or views expressed in this article. It is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice. The reader of this article is cautioned not to use or replicate any information included herein to diagnose or treat any health problem or disease without consulting a qualified health care professional. Philips shall not be liable for any damages of any kind arising from the contents of this article, including but not limited to direct, indirect, incident, punitive and consequential damages.

FIT is running a month-long campaign to increase awareness around chronic lung diseases. If you have any questions on COPD, write in to us at FIT@thequint.com. We’ll get our experts to answer your queries for you. For more information on COPD, call 1800 208 2882.

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