Things You Can Do to Try to Recover Quicker From a COPD Exacerbation

If you have COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), you have mostly likely had to deal with one or a few flare-ups, also known as exacerbations. Exacerbations take a toll on lung function each time you have one, and unfortunately, your lung function will never get back to where it was before the exacerbation.

COPD itself takes a toll on the body, the extent of which depends on how bad it is and if you have continued to smoke after being diagnosed with the disease. It's true that early and aggressive treatment of this disease makes a big difference in how it progresses.

A COPD exacerbation can leave you feeling weak and exhausted. You might have a hard time concentrating and you will likely feel more anxious, depressed or easily angered. The way you feel, besides the way you breathe, should not be overlooked.

The different functions of your body are more connected than you might realize. An article published by the University of Maryland Medical Center states that anxiety and depression can cause future exacerbations, which is likely one of the reasons why one exacerbation is usually closely followed by more.

While your lungs might not fully recover, you can do some things to make you feel better after the ordeal.

Oxygen Therapy for a Good Night's Sleep

If your doctor hasn't prescribed oxygen therapy, you can ask him or her about how it might help you. An increase in oxygen might be what you need, since it can help you get a better night's sleep, and you might already be aware of how important it is to get enough quality sleep at night.

Not being able to sleep at night, waking up frequently and failing to fall into a deep sleep are a few of the common problems faced by people with COPD. When we don't get enough sleep, a lot of things start to happen. Not only does our overall health begin to decline, our minds suffer.

If you can start to sleep through the night on a regular basis, it could cure your feelings of anxiety, depression and not being able to think clearly. Not getting enough oxygen to the brain in general spells trouble for brain function. You might only need oxygen therapy overnight for this.

Eating Well

It's true that people with COPD spend more calories and need to eat foods that are high in healthy calories and proteins. If you feel tired and out-of-sorts, you might need to eat more of these things. Eating a healthy diet can also help prevent the lung infections that cause 80% of exacerbations. Talk to your doctor to figure out how many calories you will need in one day.

Stick with lean proteins, like fish and try to reduce your sodium intake. Eggs are also a good food for you, as well as peanut butter and other types of nuts (as long as you aren't allergic!).

Drink lots of fluids like water, milk and fruit juice. Try to limit caffeinated drinks, as they can dehydrate you and soda contains added chemicals. Stay hydrated is extremely important for someone with COPD.

Make sure you are getting plenty of calcium by drinking milk and eating dark green, leafy vegetables. Calcium works with magnesium for proper lung function, or as close to regular as possible. You also need to eat more foods that contain magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.

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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