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  • What can you do to manage your COPD?

  • LightMove

    November 10, 2021 at 4:17 am

    You can do a lot to help manage your condition yourself. Knowing all you can about your condition, your symptoms, your medications and how to cope with flare-ups will make your day-to-day life easier. Keeping active and doing exercise can make a big difference – many people find this helps them more than inhaled drugs.

    This section explains the benefits of:

    keeping active

    learning how to control your breathing

    eating well and keeping a healthy weight

    taking care of your emotional wellbeing

    Also find out what else you can do and where you can find more information on managing your condition.

    Keeping active

    If you have COPD, being active and exercising can help you to improve your breathing, fitness and quality of life. Don’t avoid activities that make you breathless: you’ll get less fit and out of breath more easily. Regular exercise can help reverse this by strengthening your muscles. Exercise also benefits your heart and blood pressure, and makes you less likely to develop conditions such as diabetes and osteoporosis (fragile bone disease).

    There are many different ways to be active – find one that you might enjoy.

    The best way to learn how to exercise at the right level for you is to take part in pulmonary rehabilitation. Ask your doctor to refer you.

    There is strong evidence that people with COPD benefit from PR and exercise more generally. Remember again that it is not harmful to make yourself breathless.

    Controlling your breathing

    There are techniques and positions that can help you cope when you get out of breath and feel more in control of your breathing.You can use a breathing trainer like OPUMP to help you practice breathing techniques.

    If you practise breathing techniques and use them every day, they’ll help you when you’re active or if you suddenly feel short of breath. Try different breathing techniques to find what helps you.

    Eating well and keeping a healthy weight

    It’s important to eat a balanced diet and maintain a healthy weight. Your doctor or nurse can help you to work out what your healthy weight should be and can refer you to a dietician or local scheme to help you if necessary.

    If you’re overweight it will be harder for you to breathe and move around.

    If you’re losing too much weight because eating makes you feel breathless, or you find it difficult to shop and prepare meals, try to eat little and often. Ask your doctor or nurse about nutritional supplements

    Take care of your emotional wellbeing

    Living with a long-term condition can affect many aspects of your life. Physical symptoms such as breathlessness and coughing, feeling more tired and being less active can mean you feel stressed, anxious or depressed.

    The risk of anxiety and depression is greater in people with more severe COPD, people who have been admitted to hospital, and those with low oxygen levels.

    Treatment is available to support you. Many other people have experienced anxiety and depression and have recovered. They are both very normal reactions to living with COPD. Talk to your health care professional about medications and counselling.

    Don’t bottle things up – talking to someone you trust, including your health care professional, can help. It’s very important to stay active and sociable, and to learn more about COPD. This will help you to understand and cope better with your condition. You might want to get involved with a local group to meet others going through a similar experience.

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