Are you struggling everyday to simply breathe? Are you feeling with each passing day that you are accomplishing fewer of your planned activities?
COPD flare-ups can limit your ability to complete daily tasks causing you to feel anxious, which can also lead to trouble sleeping. But did you know that there are a few simple lifestyle modifications that you can make to limit the likelihood of these episodes?
Here are 7 tips to prevent COPD flare-ups.
1. Kick the Habit
The most important modification to make when dealing with a condition like COPD is to kick the habit. If you are looking to slow down any possible damage to your lungs, quitting smoking or avoiding second hand smoke is imperative to improve your lung health.
Asking your doctor about smoking cessations programs, and looking into smoking alternatives such as nicotine replacement therapy can be a great first step to a smoke-free life.
2. Avoid Triggers
Paying attention to the environments you find yourself in can help with preventing flare-ups. Intense environments can irritate your lungs causing extreme discomfort.
Sometimes, avoiding these climates can be uncontrollable, so the best ways to prevent flare-ups throughout intense summer and winter days, is making sure you are dressed appropriately. In the winter, you can bundle up with plenty of layers and a hot beverage to keep your body toasty.
During hot summer days, you can put a sun hat on and a loose tank top along with a nice refreshing water or healthy smoothie to cool you down. In addition, avoiding any areas where chemicals may be present such as paint fumes and household cleaners can help.
3. Walk the Walk
Having COPD does not mean you are restricted to staying in your house all day. You still have the ability to enjoy physical activity. Instead of lounging on the couch all day, getting up and moving around can make all the difference.
Exercising can help strengthen the muscles you use to breath. Even just a simple 15 or 30-minute walk can help avoid flare-ups. Make sure you talk with your physician about safe ways you can add exercise to your life.
4. Take It Easy
Although getting up and off the couch can be beneficial, you want to make sure you are not overdoing it. Getting some rest after any physical activity is important to replenish your body.
Pushing yourself too far can overwhelm your body causing flare-ups to worsen. Allowing time to take a step back and relax is great to help you feel refreshed.
5. See a Doctor
Whether you are feeling up to par or not, seeing a doctor regularly can help make sure you are doing everything you can to improve your health.
Providing your physician with all of the medications you are taking, as well as any side effects that are affecting your everyday life is important. This is also a good time to go over what your restrictions are in regards to physical activity.
6. You Are What You Eat
Remember that your body is not a wastebasket and everything you put into it affects how you feel. Creating a well-balanced diet when dealing with a flare-up can positively affect how you feel.
Getting connected with a nutritionist to discuss which foods you should add or cut from your diet can help guarantee healthy results.
7. Make It Happen
Now that you know six tips to help avoid COPD flare-ups it is time for you to follow through with the seventh, which is making it happen! Creating a plan on how you would like to enact these ideas in your life is a good way to ensure you will make these changes.
Implementing these modifications can open new doors and lead to a happier, healthier life with easier breathing.
Christine Kingsley, APRN is the Health and Wellness Director at the Lung Institute where she focuses on providing helpful online resources for people looking for information on various lung diseases, breathing exercises, and healthy lifestyle choices. She advocates for holistic care that involves working with your doctor to explore all options including traditional and alternative care while focusing on diet and exercise as proactive measures.