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Receiving a COPD diagnosis can be challenging. Here’s what to do next.
For many who currently live with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) the moment in which they received their COPD diagnosis can be seen as nothing short of devastating. As COPD is a progressive and chronic lung disease, handling the news and taking the appropriate steps to get treatment can be difficult to initially wrap one’s head around. Those receiving a COPD diagnosis can attest, the first question is often “how much time do I have” followed by a short discussion on available treatment options. Because a COPD diagnosis can be a heavy burden, reasonably resulting in a bit of initial shock, it’s important to know the next steps to ensure you are taking care of your health in the most appropriate manner.
With your health in mind, the Lung Institute is here to give you the information you need on Receiving a COPD Diagnosis: 5 Important Steps to Follow After Getting the News.
5. Throw Any and All Cigarettes in the Trash after Receiving a COPD Diagnosis
One of the biggest challenges of receiving a COPD diagnosis is the fact that it often comes later than expected. For many adults above the age of 65, the initial symptoms of COPD (shortness of breath, fatigue, increased sputum) can often be confused with natural aging process. Because of this, many adults who have COPD are unaware until they reach Stage 3 or 4. Unfortunately, for those who have developed COPD through smoking, this can often mean prolonged exposure to cigarette smoking through stages 1 and 2, unknowingly advancing the state of the disease. Whatever COPD stage you are placed into, it’s important to know that smoking will always cause you more harm. To better your health and quality of life, quit smoking immediately. This can be challenging for lifetime smokers, but it is incredibly necessary moving forward.
4. Understand All Your Treatment Options and Choose What Works for You
Upon receiving a COPD diagnosis, understanding one’s treatment options are often the first things to be explained. Depending on the stage of your disease, recommendations for treatment will typically take the form of helpful medications, inhalers, and in some cases oxygen therapy treatments (supplemental oxygen tanks). In extreme cases—for instance stage 4 COPD—a lung transplant may be suggested; however, a lung transplant is by its very nature an incredibly invasive procedure. Alternative options exist in the form of stem cell therapy, and can provide a safer and more natural alternative to traditional treatment options.
3. Take Care of Your Body
Although people generally dislike dieting, for those who have received a COPD diagnosis, this is a critical step in improving one’s health and quality of life. Food and water are the fuel of life so it’s important to give your body everything it needs to function properly. There are a variety of foods to avoid, such as fatty foods, sodas and processed meats. There are also natural treatments and raw foods (fruits and vegetables) to add to one’s diet to increase the body’s ability to derive oxygen and improve energy levels to combat fatigue. Cooking with COPD can be an exhausting process, so enlist some help from a spouse, family member or other loved one if necessary.
2. Get Some Exercise
Exercise can be exhausting, in fact that’s often the point; however, it can also be incredibly beneficial to decreasing depression, improving happiness and energy levels, and maintaining one’s cardiovascular health. Getting a good workout with COPD can seem daunting initially, but often any exercise is good exercise so start slow. We recommend simply walking; it doesn’t take any special equipment, you can do it from the comfort of your backyard or neighborhood, and it gives the opportunity to mentally stimulate oneself by taking in the world in a new way.
If outside conditions make walking difficult, try a bit of yoga inside the house. Yoga is the practice of stretching and breathing in unique positions, but has the added effect of improving respiratory control and mobility.
1. Improve Your Environment and Develop A Routine That Works
After tackling the necessary steps to change your habits, researching treatment, changing your diet and getting a bit more exercise, it’s time to address your home/ living conditions. COPD is a disease that can be easily aggravated under poor environmental conditions, so a house filled with smoke (cigarette or otherwise) can gradually worsen one’s disease progression. Simply put, your air at home needs to be as clean and lung-friendly as possible. To do this, put some plants around the house. This will not only purify any hazardous chemicals in the air but will also increase the available oxygen.
Once you understand your disease symptoms, it’s important to work out a daily system that works for you and allows you to retain your original quality of life as much as possible. In traveling this may mean keeping an oxygen tank close, or reaching out to a caregiver when completing errands.
Moving Forward After Receiving a COPD Diagnosis
It’s important to know the road ahead in the treatment after receiving a COPD diagnosis. Although COPD can seem insurmountable, new discoveries are being made every day in the field of stem cell research. The first step to living a longer life is finding a treatment that addresses the disease head-on. Changing one’s diet and consistently exercising are among the best lifestyle changes one can do aside from quitting smoking. Rather than only addressing the symptoms of lung disease, stem cell therapy works to promote healing from within the lungs and may improve quality of life and pulmonary function.
If you or a loved one suffers from a chronic disease like ILD, COPD, pulmonary fibrosis or other symptoms of lung disease, the Lung Institute may be able to help with a variety of adult stem cell treatment options. Contact us today at (800) 729-3065 to see if you qualify for stem cell therapy, and find out what stem cell therapy could mean for you.
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