The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Having your doctor tell you that you’ve been diagnosed with lung disease is never easy news to receive. Lung disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), can be life changing, but it absolutely doesn’t mean all hope is lost. Making some lifestyle changes can be a great start to taking back control of your life, below are 4 steps to improve quality of life.
Being diagnosed with lung disease doesn’t mean a lifetime sentence of being stuck on the couch watching TV. One of the best ways to improve lung function is by incorporating exercise regularly into your routine. If you’re not a regular gym rat, don’t feel discouraged. There are several beginner exercises with lung disease accommodations in mind, including yoga and walking. An easy way to start a walking or jogging regimen is to follow a couch-to-5k program. Even light exercise supports the cardiovascular system. Exercise can make you feel out of breath but don’t worry, it’s temporary and the gains are worth it.
The foods you eat can have a big impact on how you breathe and can be just as important as an exercise program. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the process of your body turning food into energy is called metabolism. During metabolism, your body takes takes food and oxygen and turns it into energy and carbon dioxide – what you exhale when you breathe. A poor diet can create more carbon dioxide, thus requiring your lungs to work harder. For nutritional guidelines, people with COPD should have a diet including complex carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables and whole grain bread); protein (chicken, eggs and yogurt); and healthy fats (unsalted nuts, fatty fish, and avocados).
Improving the Home
People with lung disease often worry about the air quality outside, but can often overlook the air quality inside their homes. Creating a COPD-friendly home can make breathing easier. One of the quickest ways to improve air quality in your home is to stop smoking, ask anyone else living in the house to stop smoking, or tell smokers to smoke outside. Also, keep the house clean of dust mites and pet dander the best you can. When cleaning, make sure you’re using cleaning products with low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Cleaning supplies, aerosol spray cans, grooming products, and air fresheners can be irritants.
Keeping a positive mental attitude can go a long way in managing lung disease and COPD. When someone is diagnosed with lung disease, some respond by tackling the disease head-on, while others become anxious or depressed. One of the best ways of coping with COPD is to remember that you’re not alone. According to the COPD Foundation, there are 24 million Americans who have COPD. There are numerous COPD and lung disease support groups either online or in person across the US. Don’t get discouraged.
Many lung disease sufferers have experienced an improved quality of life after receiving stem cell therapy from the Lung Institute. If you or a loved one suffers from COPD, contact the Lung Institute today. Our patient coordinators can be reached by calling (800) 729-3065.