Living with COPD
If you have been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), then no one needs to tell you about the troubles of breathing. You have to work for every breath; an action that most people do involuntarily, you need to work hard to achieve. COPD causes a long list of symptoms outside of shortness of breath, you can also experiences excessive coughing, wheezing, upper respiratory infections, pneumonia and bronchitis to name just a few. Unfortunately, if untreated, the disease will progress quickly, especially if you continue to smoke cigarettes. Eventually, people see their lung functioning drop to below 80 percent and need to live with supplemental oxygen.
There is currently no cure for COPD, but there are ways to help slow the progression of COPD and the first step is to know more about the disease. Pulmonary rehabilitation classes are becoming more popular with COPD suffers. The classes are offered nationwide by many reputable medical offices and hospitals. There is not just one type of pulmonary rehabilitation class because they are all tailored to an individual’s specific condition. A person with emphysema may have a different treatment plan than someone suffering from pulmonary fibrosis, for example. Regardless of conditions, most rehabilitation classes include:
- Lung function tests – on regular intervals the staff overseeing your program will want to conduct lung function tests, which usually include testing the amount of air you can breathe in and out, how fast you can breathe, as well as the oxygen levels in your blood.
- Exercise – you’re likely to be assigned a regiment of exercises that will help improve your lung’s efficiency. Typically, this includes cardiovascular and various stationary arm and leg exercises.
- Breathing techniques – the lungs work best when you take deep, slow breathes. Most breathing techniques include controlled, focused exercises that can be done at home.
- Diet – a large part of the rehabilitation has to do with what you eat. The diaphragm is the main muscle that controls your lungs, and it takes both exercise and proper nutrition to improve its functioning.
- Education – knowledge is power. Being informed about your condition and about your lungs is just as important as exercising and dieting. All pulmonary rehabilitation classes have one thing in common, they rely on self-management when you are outside of the clinic.
Pulmonary Rehabilitation Classes and Smoking
Smoking is the leading contributor to lung disease. Treating lung disease is impossible to do while smoking. Nearly all pulmonary rehabilitation classes require that you quit smoking prior to starting. However, many classes offer a smoking cessation program as a supplement to pulmonary rehabilitation.
Pulmonary rehabilitation classes are offered nationwide and are typically reasonably priced. Dependent on where your program is offered, you commonly have to pay 20 percent of the cost and/or a copay per each visit, Medicare covers the rest.
Relaxing can help too
When people have a large amount of stress in their daily life, they tend to suffer from anxiety-induced hyperventilation. Over-breathing can lead to low levels of carbon dioxide in your blood, which in turn can lead to a high acidity level in your blood. It can also place extreme stress on your kidneys, the organs responsible for regulating the carbon dioxide in your blood
Simply telling someone to relax usually doesn’t help the situation, but certain activities can decrease stress and anxiety. Allowing your mind to get lost in something other than the stresses of your life can greatly help reduce said stress. Watching a movie, reading a book and listening to music can all help manage anxiety. Additionally, yoga and meditation can put you in a relaxed state of mind, which encourages slow and deep breathing.
If you have questions about better breathing, consult your doctor first. If you or a loved one is interested in stem cell therapy for lung disease, then contact us at the Lung Institute to learn more or call (800) 729-3065 today.