Self-care plays an important role in managing any chronic health condition but it's especially important if you have COPD. Oftentimes, the initial reaction to a COPD diagnosis is that of complete defeat. Don't give up. Now is the time to take action - to make sure your condition doesn't go from mild or moderate, to severe or very severe COPD.
Follow these important steps to get started in the right direction:
- Stop smoking -- Kicking the habit once and for all is the single, most effective way to slow the progression of lung function decline that occurs in COPD.
- Get regular exercise -- Staying active will help you maintain your weight, stay strong and avoid the crippling effects of COPD.
- Eat healthy -- Some patients with COPD require as much as 10 times the energy to breathe as other people. Be sure you get enough calories of the right kinds of foods.
- Avoid exposure to airway irritants -- This applies to direct and indirect exposure to tobacco smoke, air pollution and occupational exposure to dust and harsh chemicals, as well.
- Follow your COPD treatment plan -- Treatment for COPD helps ease symptoms allowing you to live a higher quality of life.
- Call your doctor if your symptoms get worse -- Learning to recognize signs and symptoms of COPD exacerbation and other complications of COPD is an important part of living with the disease.
Being diagnosed with lung disease may mean that the life you once knew is over, but it does not mean the end of your life, even if you are diagnosed with severe or very severe COPD. Taking a pro-active stance will not only help keep your COPD from getting worse, but it will allow you to live a higher quality of life.