Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is used to reference diseases of the lungs and airways which leave it damaged and inflamed causing a difficulty in breathing. It is commonly associated with long term exposure to harmful substances such as air pollutants like chemical fumes or tobacco from smoking cigarettes. COPD has been found to affect mostly older and middle aged adults who smoke excessively.
Symptoms include; shortness of breath, wheezing, persistent chesty cough with phlegm, frequent chest infections and the production of mucus.
There are essentially two forms of COPD and both conditions are called “obstructive” because people who are diagnosed with either of the conditions can feel as though there is a blockage of smooth flow of air in and out of their lungs.
Emphysema occurs when the linings of the tiny air sacs in your lungs become damaged beyond repair. The fragile tissues between air sacs are destroyed and air pockets form in the lungs, leaving trapped in air. The lungs slowly get larger making it harder to breathe and if left undetected and untreated early enough, it can cause severe lung damages as less and less air is being circulated in and out of the lungs.
In chronic bronchitis, the airways that carry air to the lungs (bronchial tubes) get inflamed and make lots of mucus which is why you should seek help if you’re a frequent smoker experiencing an excessive production of mucus. This can narrow or block the airways, making it hard for you to breathe normally.
Here’s what you can do to manage COPD;
Firstly, you want to pay more attention to your health care and self care while ensuring that you are not taking unnecessary risks that can trigger an episode,
It is important to note that there is currently no cure for COPD as damages done to the lung cannot be reversed. The leading cause of COPD is SMOKING! So essentially, the easiest way to manage and reduce the intensity of your symptoms if diagnosed with COPD is to quit smoking.
There are other medications that can be administered to help manage your symptoms as well as lifestyle habits which can be adopted.
Don’t Joke with Your Medication:
Now is not the time to play around with your medication, take your drugs as prescribed by your doctor and make sure to carry around any valuable emergency pill or inhaler in case of unwarranted or life threatening episodes.
Stay Fit and Maintain a Healthy Weight:
The benefits of exercising regularly cannot be overemphasized, it can help improve your quality of life. If you are diagnosed with COPD, chances are you already struggle with shortness of breath and putting on excess weight will only compound your issues.
Avoid Air Pollutants:
As a COPD patient, you shouldn’t be in environments with frequent air pollution, watch what you inhale and avoid inhaling substances from dusty places, fumes(such as car exhausts) smoke, air freshener sprays or plug-ins or even perfumes as these can all trigger a flare up of your symptoms
Eat Healthy and Protect yourself against harmful infections:
People with COPD run a special risk of contracting respiratory infections, which can trigger flare-ups. Asides good personal hygiene, eating healthy is an important way to keep your body and your immune system strong. Fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, olive oil, and whole grains should make the list on your priority food list.
Certain nutritional supplements may also be recommended by your doctor to fill nutritional gaps and ensure you are getting all the required nutrients. Vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A, C, D, E, Magnesium, Calcium, Omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fiber etc. have supporting effects on medications for COPD.