COPD can impact your life on a daily basis, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities to take control of the things that can trigger your symptoms. Regular treatment and a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, a balanced diet and use of breathing techniques, can help you manage COPD by controlling symptoms and slowing the development of further damage to your lungs¹.
How to live with COPD?
COPD athlete Russell Winwood and his physician Dr. Wayne Kelly discuss daily life with COPD.
Preparing and following an action plan can help you live as normal a life as possible with COPD. A COPD action plan is intended to give you instructions to follow depending on how you feel and the intensity of your symptoms. Action plans are usually structured into green, yellow and red zones that correspond with your symptoms, ranging from normal to more severe.
It is also important to stick to the plan even if your breathing feels OK. Seeing your doctor regularly gives you the chance to talk about how you are feeling generally, including flare-ups you may be having and possible changes to medication2.
COPD symptoms can be triggered by your environment, so being aware of what can cause a flare-up may help you better manage your condition day-to-day. Some suggestions to reduce COPD triggers include:
Avoid lung irritants, such as air pollution or chemical fumes by staying indoors on days when the air quality is poor
Improve the air quality inside your home with ventilation or an air purifier
Reduce mucus build-up by using a humidifier and drinking plenty of water
Don’t allow smoking in your home and avoid second-hand smoke outside
Reduce your chance of catching a cold or the flu by washing your hands frequently, avoiding large crowds during the winter season and making sure you have your scheduled vaccines
Consider making lifestyle changes
Regular treatment and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can not only help you manage your symptoms, but may aid in slowing the progression of COPD and help you enjoy an active life. Consider the following lifestyle changes and management tips3,4:
Stop or avoid smoking
Eating well and maintain a healthy weight
Practice breathing and relaxation techniques
Learn how to cough effectively
Recognize and avoid the factors that trigger flare-ups
Have an action plan for flare-ups
Taking your medication as prescribed
See your doctor regularly, even if you feel well, and especially if you have any concerns
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