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Thursday, September 6, 2012

12 tips for newly diagnosed COPD patients

So you've been recently diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).  Now you're wondering what you should do next.  The following are some tips to help you through the next several months.  These are things you should do (or should not do).
  1. Stay calm:  Take your time and get all the facts about your illness.  Let it sink in what's wrong with you and what you can do about it before you make major life changing decisions.  
  2. Quit smoking:  This is the one change you must do.  It won't heal your lungs, but it will prevent further damage.  
  3. Work with your doctor:  You'll need to do this to get your COPD under control.  Once you get it under control...
  4. You can live a normal life with COPD:  Yes, it's true!  You don't have to quit living just because you have COPD.  You can still keep your chairmanship of the city council.  You'll just have to pace yourself.  Besides, you'll need to continue doing things to keep your mind at ease.  Yes, living as normal a life as you can is essential.  Please, don't quit!
  5. Stay active:  Along with living as normal as you can, you will need to get exercise.  Your body is not meant to be sedentary.   Exercise makes breathing easier.  Trust me, I say this from personal experience as an asthmatic.  It's no coincidence most asthma and COPD bloggers champion how much they exercise.  
  6. Eat healthy:  This is also essential.  This is especially important if you are overweight, as shedding extra pounds can make breathing easier.  Eat several small meals a day instead of just the three large meals.  This is also important because a bloated stomach will push up on your diaphragm making it harder to breathe.  If you need to, ask your doctor to refer you to a dietitian.  
  7. Avoid second hand smoke:  DO NOT LET ANYONE SMOKE IN YOUR HOUSE.  DO NOT LET ANYONE SMOKE OUTSIDE YOUR HOUSE.  DON'T ALLOW PEOPLE TO COME INTO YOUR HOUSE SMELLING LIKE SMOKE.  THE FACT I'M MAKING THIS ALL CAPITALS SHOULD SIGNIFY THE IMPORTANCE HERE.  IT DOESN'T DO MUCH GOOD TO QUIT SMOKING IF YOU LET PEOPLE SMOKE NEAR YOU.
  8. Avoid smelly body stuff:  Many COPDers complain that strong smells can trigger an attack.  So it's wise not to use strong deodorants, perfumes, aftershave, laundry detergents, etc.  
  9. Avoid candles and incense:  These can also clog up the air making it hard to breathe.  
  10. Stay positive:  Having COPD is not a death sentence.  You can live a long time with the quality of life you have now, so long as you follow the tips here and stay positive.  Be optimistic.  Keep charging forward.  
  11. Educate yourself:  I should actually put this #1.  This is essential.  Go to websites like healthcentral.com and copdnewsoftheday.  These sites will lead you to COPD communities and/or lead you to information and the latest wisdom you need to know about your disease.  
  12. Participate in COPD communities:  It's good to know what others like you think.  It's good to know you are not alone.  Check out these links to learn from voices like yours.  
Note:  I'm writing this post as a respiratory therapist who works with COPD patients on a daily basis, a life long asthmatic, and friend to many COPD patients.  I'm writing this in particular to a good friend who tried to quit living and I wouldn't let him.  So this is an extemporaneous list, not one I conjectured from other websites.  Yet the information here is probably similar to what you'll learn from any trusted website or blog.  

2 comments:

Therapy Sites said...

Thank you for sharing these tips. I am pretty sure that this is a great help to those patients who feel like quitting or giving up. Thank you for encouraging all the COPD patients and all of us.

Livia Tiba said...

Nice post. COPD is very common disease today and holds many other respiratory illnesses under its umbrella so coping with it, is really tough now-a-days. But there are some natural treatments such as salt therapy that gives a positive result because it cleans the respiratory system and improves breathing. Hope this will benefit others also: http://www.salinetherapy.com/