The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Fighting Against COPD
After being diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), you will likely be prescribed daily medications and, depending on which stage you are in, supplemental oxygen. COPD is progressive, and available medications treat symptoms rather than the disease itself. You can take steps to help fight the disease. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. Fight back with these tips to help improve your lung function, mood and quality of life.
So you’ve come to terms with your diagnosis, left cigarettes behind, and wonder what’s next. One of the most important things you can do for yourself is stay active. If you were active in the past, continue to do so, even if you have to start small by walking around the house instead of sitting on the couch. Have your medications and emergency inhalers handy, and push yourself a bit. Exercise promotes lung function, and the more you can build your lung function, the better. If you haven’t been active in a while, try some beginner exercises. Of course, be sure to consult with your primary care physician before starting an exercise regime.
Just as important as exercise, your diet has a huge effect on your health and how you feel. A recent study published in the European Respiratory Journal stated that a diet rich in antioxidants may protect against the progression of COPD and even improve lung function. Foods rich in antioxidants include: grapes, blueberries, nuts, dark green veggies, sweet potatoes, tea, whole grains and fish. It can be difficult to eat when you’re short of breath, and many of those with COPD find it easier to eat several smaller meals throughout the day. Be sure to stay hydrated to keep mucus thin.
When you’re stressed, experts recommend deep breathing to calm down. This can be frustrating advice when you feel stressed even thinking about trying to take a deep breath. First, acknowledge that you are stressed rather than trying to fight the feeling. Next, do something that gets your mind off of the stress. This will mean something different for different people. It could be saying a prayer, going for a walk, counting to 100, meditating, blasting music or watching a funny YouTube video.
Take Dietary Supplements
Some supplements have reportedly helped lung disease patients. Here are a few top supplements:
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3s decrease inflammation. They are found in fish oil capsules, flax seeds, fish and nuts.
- Vitamins D and E: Both have been found to improve lung function in some patients.
- Eucalyptus: The menthol properties of eucalyptus help clear the lungs, and adding some eucalyptus oil to your humidifier might help you to breathe more easily.
Learning to live with COPD isn’t easy, but you aren’t the first, and you’re not in this alone. Doing even one of the tips listed above can help you enjoy a better quality of life. You don’t have to start off doing everything at once. If it seems overwhelming, pick one positive action, and build from there.
Many lung disease sufferers experience better quality of life after receiving stem cell therapy from the Lung Institute. If you are interested in learning more about minimally-invasive stem cell therapy, contact a patient coordinator today at (800) 729-3065 to see if you are a candidate for stem cell therapy.