TOP TIPS FOR LIVING WITH COPD
There are over 3 million people in the UK live with COPD. COPD affects people not just physically but mentally, emotionally and socially too.
If you are affected by COPD, here are some tips to help you manage your condition:
It’s very important to stay as active as possible, not only to keep a healthy weight but regular exercise can help to manage your breathlessness, reduce flare-ups and creates opportunities to meet new people. There are pulmonary rehabilitation classes that your doctor can refer you to so that you can exercise with other patients suffering from similar conditions. Even just walking everyday can help, but there is no reason that patients cant keep on doing the activities they used to do before their diagnosis whether it be swimming, cycling or running.
Talk to others
Having a long-term illness can put a strain on your relationships. Constantly battling with your breathing can lead to depression and constant tiredness and your partner or carer can feel frustrated and anxious watching it happening to you. Talking to each other and being open about how you feel is important, it can help put others at ease. Even if you need to ask to have some alone time. There are also many forums and support groups that you can join so you can talk to other COPD and get advice and tips and make you feel less isolated.
Take things slowly and plan ahead
It’s important to take things slowly, pace yourself and plan ahead for each day. From when you wake up you need to think about how best to conserve your energy, still remain active and think about whether there will be any factors during the day that could induce a flare-up such as over-exertion, pollen or heat. Certain times of the day make some activities easier and there are gadgets and handy tips that can help make daily tasks a lot easier to manage. It is important to know how your body might react to different activities or situations so that you can plan and prepare for moments of breathlessness. Planning may sound time-consuming or boring but in the long-run it will make your life easier and even help to improve your condition.
As COPD is a long term condition and monitoring your condition is very important to ensure you are getting the best help and medication to help ease your condition. You should ensure you regularly see your doctor and you should get regular help and advice from a health care professional (HCP). Your condition can improve or worsen over time and your HCP can provide help, advice, recommend changes to your medications to help support you through out your illness. Occupational Therapists can help adjust your home and lifestyle to best suit your condition and improve your quality of life.
Look after your oxygen
If you have been prescribed oxygen then it is important to understand your equipment and prescription. Make sure you know how to use and maintain your oxygen equipment, ask your oxygen supplier if you are unsure or if you think you need different equipment to make your life easier. Ensure you follow safety guidelines around oxygen as it can be dangerous and follow safety tips around using the equipment at home to avoid trips and falls. Ensure that you have regular appointments with your doctor to ensure your prescription remains correct and let your doctor know if your breathing worsens or if you think you may need oxygen at night as well as during the day. Lots of tips and advice surrounding the use of oxygen and oxygen equipment can be found on various websites including the NHS, British Lung Foundation and Oxygen Worldwide, to name a few.