A New Year's Resolution can be a powerful aide to helping you live well with COPD. Here are some we think would be perfect for you to choose from.
1. Learn about your disease. Both COPD and Asthma are complex diseases that researchers are learning more and more about every day. It's a good idea purchase a book so you can become a pseudo expert on your disease. Or, at the very least, continue to hang out at sites like this, as we do our best to keep you updated with the latest wisdom. This is also important because there are a lot of new respiratory medicines in the pipeline, and you'll want to be aware of them when they come out. Who knows, the next discovery might lead to a cure for our disease.
2. Walk more frequently. I recently wrote a post about titled, "9 Ways Exercise Improves Asthma Control." You should go ahead and read that article (and then come back here), because the same is true for COPD. The more you exercise, the stronger your heart and lungs become, and the more efficient they become at pumping oxygen and nutrients through your body. This leads to better breathing. As a bonus, it also improves your mood and your overall sense of wellbeing. Look, there are even victims of COPD who walk marathons.
3. Join a pulmonary rehabilitation program. This kind of goes along with walking more frequently. Pulmonary rehabilitation programs can help you get the exercise you need while educating you about your disease, and helping you meet others just like you to give you the support you need. Actually, Pulmonary Rehabilitation is now a top-line recommendation for anyone with a COPD diagnosis, especially if you get winded doing normal routines (like going to the bathroom or brushing your teeth). Again, exercise makes your cardiovascular system work better, making you more tolerent to exercise.
4. Eating healthier. Look, many of us have difficulty maintaining a healthy weight. But if you have a breathing disorder, it's almost essential that you eat healthier. Most experts recommend eating five or six smaller meals, rather than three large ones. The reason is that a full stomach pushes up on your diaphragm, making less room for your lungs to expand. You could try to do this on your own, or, better yet, you could have your doctor refer you to a dietician who can give you tips to healthier eating.
5. Eliminate carbonated beverages from your diet. A good idea for any person with a lung disease is to lay off the pop and beer. For one thing, they can cause gas and bloating, and this causes your stomach to push up on your diaphragm making less room for your lungs to move. They may also increase the carbon dioxide in your blood, which is chronically elevated in some COPD patients anyway. A good idea is to avoid them altogether, or at least limit your intake to one or two a day.
6. Go on vacations. Even if you need supplemental oxygen 24/7, the equipment is now so modernized you should be able to go anywhere. You can travel across the state to visit relatives you haven't seen in a while, or simply go on a vacation for fun (like to Disney World). The idea here is that you can still keep living, you can still have fun, even with a chronic lung disease like COPD.
7. Participate in a COPD community like ours. The best place to learn about your disease is to hang out at communities like ours. Here you will get the expert advice from doctors, nurses, and respiratory therapists like me. We will educate you about your disease, provide tips to help you live better with it, and sometimes even share our own stories. Along with experts like me, you will also meet other people living with it just like you. So feel free to hang out with us, sign up for our newsletters if you want, and have a Happy Easy Breathing New Year!
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10 Tips to Living An Active Life With COPD
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Gaining Control Of Your COPD