Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) causes shortness of breath by restricting airflow into and out of the lungs. Difficult breathing can make you uncomfortable and unable to perform simple routine tasks.
However, living with COPD doesn’t have to be an entirely grim prospect. Some helpful remedies can help relieve coughing, excess mucus production, and other debilitating symptoms.
Here are six health tips to help you manage the condition, open your airways and improve your quality of life.
1. Stop Smoking
We continue to emphasize the importance of quitting smoking because it is the primary cause of COPD. Tobacco products like cigarettes, cigars, bidis, or pipes are irritable to the lungs. When you consume them, they make the lungs swell and narrow. Hence, the air becomes difficult to transport.
If you want to successfully manage a COPD diagnosis, you must make it a resolution to quit smoking. This is because, apart from the health risk smoking poses to you, it may also reduce the effectiveness of the medications that doctors prescribe for COPD.
2. Improve The Quality Of Air In Your Home
Apart from cigarettes, specific irritants like chemical cleaning products, insecticides, paints, pet dander, dust, or kitchen smoke may also affect the quality of air in your home and make it difficult for persons with COPD to breathe.
You need to regularly vacuum your home and remove clutter to avoid building dust. It would be best if you also considered frequently opening the windows to improve airflow, and using an air filtration system that helps prevent air contaminants from entering your home.
3. Improve Symptoms By Practising Breathing Exercises
The diaphragm is the primary muscle for breathing. Practicing breathing exercises helps improve these muscles and, ultimately, your COPD symptoms.
Here are Some helpful breathing exercises:
- Diaphragm breathing
Diaphragmatic breathing or belly breathing involves using the stomach, abdominal muscles, and diaphragm to breathe more deeply. Here, the abdomen expands while breathing in and deflates when breathing out. This type of breathing also slows the heartbeat and stabilizes blood pressure.
- Pursed-lip breathing
With pursed breathing, you inhale air through your nose and slowly exhale through tightly pursed lips. This form of breathing helps move oxygen into your lungs efficiently.
Pranayama is another helpful breathing technique that aims to achieve and maintain a steady breathing pattern. Often used during yoga, this breathing exercise helps deep and easy inhalation and exhalation. It is also a great way to reduce stress.
Talking about stress…
4. Manage Your Stress Levels Efficiently
People with COPD have a greater risk for depression and anxiety.
However, emotional stress can worsen COPD symptoms and lead to flare-ups. This is why engaging in stress management exercises to improve your overall health is encouraged.
Suggestions to help you manage your stress levels include:
- Quality sleep
- Healthy diet
- Regular guided exercise
- Create time for self-care
- Minimize alcohol and caffeine use
- Social connection
5. Try COPD Supplements
Nutrition is essential for people with COPD, and several supplements can help improve symptoms. These supplements control inflammation and are invaluable in helping to manage the condition.
Some supplements include Vitamin A, C, D, and E, Omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fiber, ginseng, herbal teas, and others. It is advisable to talk with your healthcare provider about the suitable supplements for you, and the dosage.
While COPD is a chronic condition, you can take steps to manage your condition by practicing the tips mentioned in this article.
At Carolina Clinical of the Carolinas, we have an ongoing clinical research program dedicated to helping people with COPD breathe better. Kindly contact us today for more information on how to participate in our clinical trials.