The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Labor Day is traditionally the unofficial end of summer. It’s a chance for friends and family to come together and enjoy bonding and camaraderie. For someone with COPD, Labor Day may be just another day of labored breathing. So, this year, if you have COPD or any lung disease, celebrate Labor Day and try and create a special moment. One of the best ways is to make sure you have a strong network of social support.
Enjoy being with friends and family
Research shows that people with COPD who have a strong support network have reduced anxiety. Conversely, those with a poor social network have higher levels of anxiety and tend to feel let down. Many people with COPD already have increased anxiety which can lead to breathing difficulties, so even a little respite from anxiety will be welcome. Don’t be afraid to ask friends or family to arrange a special outing like a picnic, day at the beach or visiting someplace special.
A change of scenery, a change of attitude
If possible, get out and enjoy the day. Some people with COPD have trouble when they go outside to unfiltered conditions. But if you can go out, it could be very therapeutic. Sometimes staying inside in the same house in the same room can feel like a prison sentence. Just be aware of the conditions outside. Depending on where you live it could be very hot or very humid, or maybe even cool and windy. Prepare in advance.
We hope you will be able to enjoy a nice meal or meals with friends and family. People with COPD often times have to be aware of what they eat or shouldn’t eat. There are three major sources of energy from food: proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Each source determines how much energy you may have and how efficiently the body rids itself of unwanted carbon dioxide. People with COPD require more energy to breathe, sometimes requiring 10 times the calories than a person without COPD.
Protein (fish, eggs, poultry, dairy, nuts and some red meat) is an important part of a good diet and key for healthy muscles, bones and blood. Fruits and vegetables help fight inflammation and infection, and are easy to digest. Fats (nuts, peanut butter, avocado, olive oil, cheese) take the least amount of effort for the body to digest, and that is good.
Simple carbohydrates (sugary snacks, pasta, white bread, processed foods) offer little to no fiber and nutrients, and they can make the body work harder just to get rid of the excess, and that is bad.
People with COPD also need to hydrate. It is recommended you have six to eight (8 ounce) glasses of noncaffeinated/non-alcoholic beverages per day. Liquids may help thin and loosen mucus in the lungs and airways. Not to be a party pooper, but caffeine and alcohol can mess with your medications.
Exercise within reason
Many people with COPD underestimate what they can do. You should know your limitations, but don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. Without the challenge, you may not be keeping your exercise capacity up to the best level. Regular exercise won’t undo lung damage, but it does strengthen your muscles and builds or maintains a strong cardiovascular system. This, in turn, may reduce strain on your lungs.
Maybe take a walk, go for a swim, play catch, toss a Frisbee, try yoga or gardening.
So, enjoy the final holiday of summer. If you have been diagnosed with COPD, please call the Lung Institute today at (855) 621-1526 to speak with one of our caring team members. We offer innovative stem cell treatment options for COPD that can potentially promote healing from within the lungs (as opposed to simply treating symptoms) and may improve quality of life. Even if you believe you are in the early stages of COPD progression, we encourage you to seek treatment as soon as possible.