How to Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle with COPD

Depending on how severe your diagnosis of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, you should be able to at least put the progression of this disease at a standstill, as long as you make a few healthy lifestyle decisions. You won't be able to cure yourself of this disease, only because you can't reverse the damage that has been done to your lungs. Making everyone aware of COPD is the first step in making sure the disease doesn't advance so far, that you need to be using a home oxygen concentrator for most of the day. To stay healthy, you will need to ask yourself a few questions.

Are you still smoking?

This is assuming that you have already quit smoking, or you are already on the road to quitting. That's the first step in staying healthy. You don't need to wait until you've been diagnosed with something as serious as COPD before trying to quit, either. Being diagnosed with a serious lung condition or other disease is usually the kick that many people need to quit smoking.

Am I taking my medications properly?

The next thing you will need to focus on is what you need to do to keep your body in its best shape while you work on your basic lifestyle changes: taking your medications. Take any medications your doctor prescribes you, including your control inhaler, and any other oral medications, exactly as directed. If you have a rescue inhaler, carry that with you at all times, and only use it when you need it. If you've been prescribed oxygen therapy, only use it as directed. Many people end up forgetting to take their medications, which leads to a dangerous flareup.

Am I taking preventative measures?

Protect yourself from getting sick with common illnesses. Your doctor will most likely want to administer a flu and pneumonia shot right in his or her office before the cold and flu season starts. You will also need to take the usual measures for preventing colds and other sickness, such as washing your hands frequently and avoiding other people who are sick.

Am I taking care of my body as a whole?

This ties into taking preventative measures, since taking care of your body will also help keep you from getting the common illnesses that exacerbate COPD. Getting enough sleep at night – at least 7 hours – is important in keeping your body healthy and your immune system working in top order.

You should start cutting out processed foods and eating as much fresh foods as possible, especially fruits and vegetables, which contain the vitamins your body needs to stay strong. One important nutrient you need is omega-3 fatty acids, contained in fish, buts and dark green leafy vegetables.

Gentle exercise as directed by your doctor or a respiratory therapist is another important factor in staying healthy with COPD. Your lungs and heart need to work together to stay as strong as possible, so oxygen can be properly distributed throughout your body.

Information on this page is for reference and educational purposes only. For more information about COPD, talk to your doctor or primary care provider.

About Scott Ridl: Scott joined American Medical Sales and Rentals in 2008 as a Web Manager and Content Writer. He is a writer and designer. He is extensively trained on oxygen therapy products from leading manufacturers such as Inogen, Respironics, Chart, Invacare, ResMed and more. Scott works closely with respiratory therapists and oxygen specialists to educate the community about oxygen therapy products, COPD, asthma and lung diseases. He writes weekly columns and is passionate about educating the community on oxygen therapy and respiratory issues.

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