Whether you’re out and about or staying home, breathing easily is essential to a quality life. For that reason, living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) can feel overwhelming as symptoms often include shortness of breath, coughing, and fatigue. Fortunately, despite these challenges, there are simple solutions that can help you feel better and live more comfortably. Let’s explore some of the most effective tips for managing your COPD symptoms so that you can minimize discomfort and enjoy your days.
Staying hydrated is an easy and inexpensive way to stay healthy and take control of COPD symptoms. Water helps lubricate mucous membranes in the lungs, which can keep them moist, reduce irritation, and make it easier to cough up phlegm. Staying hydrated helps eliminate toxins from your body through urination too, which may further reduce inflammation in the lungs. Aim to drink between 8 to 10 glasses of water a day, or speak to your doctor about what amount is right for you.
Get Plenty of Exercise
Exercise is important for everyone, especially those living with COPD who need to build strength and endurance. Even if you don’t feel like exercising, regular physical activity improves your breathing capacity and builds strength in the upper chest muscles, which increases lung function over time. Speak to your health-care provider about what exercises are best for you before starting so you don’t overexert yourself or put too much strain on your lungs.
Use an Oxygen Tank
Using an oxygen tank can help people with COPD breathe better and manage their symptoms. That’s why another vital tip for managing your COPD symptoms is to ask your doctor about getting one of your own. Oxygen tanks supply supplemental oxygen to the lungs, providing a higher concentration than what is normally in the air we breathe. This helps open airways and makes breathing easier.
Additionally, using these devices reduces inflammation in the lungs, decreases shortness of breath and fatigue, and improves quality of life. Depending on your specific COPD diagnosis, you may need to use an oxygen tank intermittently or full time. Either way, it’s important to consider several things about living with an oxygen tank before you commit to the purchase, such as the risks and safety guidelines.
Even the environment itself can help or hinder COPD symptoms, depending on air quality. Environmental pollutants like secondhand smoke, air pollution, mold spores, dust mites, and pet dander can irritate a person’s airways and worsen COPD symptoms. Avoid triggers like smoky places or areas with high levels of air pollution. Use an air filter, and clean your home regularly with natural products.
The most important thing to remember when managing your COPD symptoms is that there is no “one size fits all” approach. What works for one person may not work for another, so it’s important to find the best strategies for you! With the right lifestyle changes, you can drastically improve your comfort and breathe easier each day.