I’ve Just Been Diagnosed With COPD. Now What?
Receiving a diagnosis for any type of chronic condition can be overwhelming. If you’ve recently been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), you may be wondering what it means and what you can do moving forward. Here are some tips to consider.
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While it can’t reverse the damage that has already occurred, smoking cessation is the most effective way to slow the progression of COPD and reduce mortality. Tactics such as counseling, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), or a combination of therapies can help patients quit for good.
Practice Breathing Exercises
Your healthcare team may recommend that you work with a specialist who can guide you through therapeutic exercises to increase your lung capacity. These may include diaphragmatic breathing, deep breathing, and pursed-lip breathing, among others. Mastering these techniques can help you manage your symptoms.
Because weak muscles require more oxygen, strengthening your muscles so they require less oxygen can help to alleviate some of the strain on your lungs. Walking, cycling, lifting light weights, swimming, and rowing are low-impact, beneficial exercises to consider, but take a break if any workouts make you feel out of breath. If exercise feels too strenuous, you might start with pulmonary rehab first. Eventually, aim to get physical activity in for roughly 20 minutes each day.
Maintain A Healthy Weight
The better you’re able to maintain a healthy weight, the less strain it will put on your lungs. Being overweight or too thin can both lead to exacerbated health issues for COPD patients, so talk to your doctor about the weight that’s right for you and steps you can take to reach or maintain it.
Eat A Nutritious Diet
Power your body with the fuel it needs to perform its best by eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and fiber. Avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of water each day. Ideally, you should also be limiting your intake of heavily processed foods, which have high amounts of salt, sugar, and saturated fats.
Plan For Flares
Flare-ups happen when COPD symptoms get worse and should be taken seriously. They can be caused by triggers such as air pollution, allergies, or a bacterial or viral chest infection. Your flare plan may involve taking antibiotics or corticosteroids or seeking emergency care, depending on what your doctor recommends.
With these strategies, you can take a proactive approach to manage your COPD and its symptoms. Be sure to consult with your healthcare team to ensure you’re following their recommendations as well. Some patients are exploring alternative treatments such as stem cell therapy for the management of their symptoms or to help slow the rate progression of the condition.
This post was written by a medical professional at Stemedix Inc. At Stemedix we provide access to Regenerative Medicine for hair, also Stem cell treatment for COPD. Regenerative medicine has the natural potential to help improve symptoms sometimes lost from the progression of many conditions.