The official blog of the Lung Institute.
When you are first diagnosed, it is important to compile a list of questions to ask your doctor about COPD. There is no cure for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but you can manage the symptoms through aggressive planning with you doctor.
5 Questions to Ask Your Doctor about COPD
1. What could aggravate my COPD?
Reducing COPD flare-ups takes practice. Air particles could aggravate your lungs. Maintaining a clean home, and keeping mold and mildew in the environment to a minimum, is a huge plus. Describing the particulars of your home environment will help your doctor give specific guidance in this area.
2. How could my diet affect my COPD?
The food you eat is converted into energy for your body. Your meals contain vitamins and nutrients, which when broken down by the digestive system, aid various bodily functions, like breathing. Developing a food plan with you doctor will help ensure that your lungs receive the nutrients they need. It is also helpful to speak with a registered dietitian or nutritionist. Your doctor should be able to recommend one for you. However you plan make sure your diet is realistic. Don’t plan to eat food you hate or expect to give up food you love. Be sure to discuss alternatives and how to prepare your favorite meals in a way that is healthier for you.
3. Is stem cell therapy an option?
Adult stem cells from one organ are capable of forming tissue for another organ, which is called plasticity. Stem cells derived from bone marrow have the capacity to form many types of differentiated cells, including lung cells. It has been found that adult stem cells are capable of being transferred into any one single organ of the body. These procedures must be performed in a clinical setting under the supervision of a trained professional.
With COPD and other pulmonary conditions, the use of autologous stem cells from the patient’s own peripheral blood, can help promote healing in the lungs when reintroduced into the body. Not everyone is a candidate for stem cell treatments. Make sure to ask your doctor if stem cell therapies might be an option for you.
4. What is pulmonary rehabilitation?
Pulmonary rehabilitation refers to a program of combined education and exercise classes. These courses are designed to teach you more about your disease and the ways to improve your lung health. Breathing exercises, along with general aerobics, can improve your lung’s capabilities to efficiently process oxygen. In many cases, the people who participate in pulmonary rehabilitation classes see positive outcomes. The classes are a long-term commitment. Be sure to discuss this option with you physician prior to enrolling.
5. Is it safe to continue exercising?
Shortness of breath may make it seem impossible to exercise. Who wants to do physical activity when they have trouble breathing? Complete lack of exercise when you have a lung disease is often a poor decision. Lack of physical fitness can contribute to aggravating symptoms and decreased lung health. Of course, you’ll need to take it slow and increase your activity over time. You will also need to keep in close contact with your physician about any exercise routine.
COPD is a disease that calls for constant monitoring and an open line of communication between the patient and his or her doctor. However, with proper planning and lifestyle changes, the disease can be managed and symptoms can be limited.