If you have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), you know how hard it is to breathe. I’ve had chronic bronchitis for 5 years of my adult life as a result of heavy smoking. (Neither times were fun.) While the “attacks” usually go away in a few weeks, some people, like you, aren’t so lucky.
Regardless, the fact is this: breathing gets hard. It hurts to swallow. Life becomes miserable and it seems like there’s no escape. Today we’re going to look at several ways to “happily live” with COPD by managing its effects.
1. Stop Smoking
Smoking when you have COPD is like drinking alcohol with a damaged liver. Since you have COPD, your lungs are already in jeopardy – smoking only worsens the damage.
There are over 250 life-threatening chemicals (that we know about) in tobacco smoke. In total, there are over 7,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke (such as ammonia and carbon monoxide). Of those, 69 cause cancer. Here is a “small” list of cancer-causing chemicals:
Never smoking again reverses these effects before it’s too late.
2. Get Rest
You and I both know that having enough sleep is essential for life. However, people with COPD, unfortunately, tend to have a harder time sleeping. Therefore, it’s highly recommended to make yourself tired enough for a full night’s sleep. How? By…
- Not napping during the daytime
- Exercising for 30 minutes (not before bedtime)
- Relax 2 hours before bedtime and avoid stimulation
- Have a small high-protein snack (cheese and crackers are a great choice) 30 mins. Before bed
- Keep your bedroom quiet and cool (60-67 degrees F has been shown to be the ideal “sleeping temperature”)
3. Use Oxygen Appropriately
If you have COPD, you might need some oxygen therapy to help you along. That’s OK – some people need it, some don’t. We’re all passengers in the same boat. When done right, oxygen therapy kicks you back into an active life. Running becomes easier. Walking isn’t like pulling a horse. Oxygen concentrators (especially portable ones) give badly-needed oxygen your blood and lungs need.
If you must take them, COPD medications can help treat and get rid of this nasty condition. Always be sure to talk to your doctor about medications that seem right for you. Here is a small list of possible medications:
A lot of drugs that help treat COPD come in specialized inhalers – making them hard (or inefficient) to use correctly. Remember: It’s always better to talk to your doctor if you feel no improvements.
5. Get The Mucus Out
Bringing up mucus—as disgusting as it sounds—is crucial. Airways tend to collect mucus. When that mucus builds up, it gets harder to breathe… and that build-up causes infections. To quickly get rid of mucus and prevent infection from happening:
- Gargle with warm salt water
- Boil water in a pot, put your head over pot and cover your head with a towel
- Chop a piece of raw ginger into 1 tsp., put into a cup of boiling water to make ginger tea
- Drink plenty of water (water thins mucus secretions)
You know, clearing out mucus takes time. It’s OK if you don’t get it the first time.
6. Do Breathing Exercises
Do you want to improve your breathing? Yeah? Can you think of a better way of improving your breath… by exercising your breath? You are essentially training yourself how to breathe properly again.
Little else helps you bolt for the fast-track to health as breathing exercises. (For now, we’ll start with a small, with basic—but fundamental—exercise.)
Pursed lip breathing:
- Sit up in a chair
- Inhale deeply through nose (for a five count)
- Purse lips (like you’re trying to whistle)
- Exhale through lips (for a 15 count)
By exhaling through such a small orifice, you’re steadily training your lungs to regulate themselves.
Follow these tips and suggestions, and in no time at all, you’ll be comfortable living with COPD while you’re recovering. This isn’t the end of the world – people can, and have, recovered… and even went on to share their inspirational stories.
If you are interested in even more lifestyle-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels then we have a lot more to choose from.