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Slowing COPD Progression

What are some things you do or have found helpful to slow your COPD's progression?

  1. Walking 2 miles per day and strengthening excercises every other day. Breztri inhaler 2x day, levalbuterol inhaler every 6 hours.

    1. Hi. Thank you for sharing with us what you do to slow the progression of your COPD. It certainly sounds like you have a good strategy down. Wishing you all the best. John. community moderator.

  2. I agree about the exercise! After a four-day stay in the hospital for a COPD exacerbation and heart problems seven months ago, I couldn't walk (on 2 lpm of oxygen) 30 feet to the bathroom without stopping to catch my breath. I'm on albuterol via nebulizer 3X day and also on Trelegy. In addition to COPD, I also have Congestive Heart Failure, Pulmonary Hypertension, and Chronic Kidney Disease (only 75% of one kidney left working -- lost the rest to cancer). I was refused the Zephyr Valves because of my high pulmonary hypertension and I was refused a lung transplant because of my poor kidney function. After that hospital stay, I started filling out my will and trying to decide how I was going to leave everyone.

    Then I decided I wasn't going to let it all get the best of me so I started walking every day on my treadmill. That first day was torture and I couldn't even do 5 minutes at 1mph!). Now (on 3 lpm of oxygen), I have worked up to walking two miles on the treadmill every morning (48 minutes at 2.5 mph) and am able to keep my oxygen saturation at 93-95%! I also walk my dog every day in the afternoon for another mile (on my portable oxygen at 3 pulse).

    In addition to the three miles of daily exercise, I changed my diet and eliminated all the salt I could. My cardiologist also suggested I try to keep water out of my system to keep my pulmonary hypertension and CHF in check so I drink no more than 32 oz of liquid a day (having to balance my pulmonologist, cardiologist and my nephrologist since my lungs and heart want it dry and my kidneys want it wet!). My last echocardiogram showed that, due to the exercise, elimination of salt and cutting back on water, my lung blood pressure and my right-side heart pressure are now normal. I did a new PFT and 6-minute-walk last week for my pulmonologist and I go tomorrow to get the results of those. While I'll still require oxygen, I expect better results in my FEV scores! I also have an appointment to see a doctor in Atlanta about the Zephyr Valves.

    And -- by the way -- I've dropped from 260 pounds (which included a lot of water) to 203 pounds as of this morning! I feel great! All the hard work has paid off and I'm looking forward to many more birthdays!

    All this to say, yes, it is possible to slow the progression of your COPD but you've got to work for it (baby steps!). I completely understand how easy it is to feel like there is no room for improvement. I felt that way for quite a while! I found, though, that just sitting in a recliner worrying about it didn't work for me!

    1. Thanks! I was at the same exact place. Hang in there and do what you can to get some exercise. I think you'll see a difference. Exercise and a change in diet made the big difference for me. All the best to you as you fight this condition. I'll be thinking about you!

    2. wow you are an inspiration. I walk also but don’t measure it. Keep up the great work, you have a lot of things going on that affect the lungs. It must have been very difficult to start your journey but you did it. I have also looked into my health care wishes.

  3. As a followup -- I saw my pulmonologist today to get the results of my PFT and 6-minute-walk. Good news! Through the use of exercise and change of diet, my FEV1 went from 39% on 9/7/22 to 61% on 10/2/23!!!!! That's a HUGE increase in one year and takes my stage from "severe COPD (GOLD 3)" to "moderate COPD (GOLD 2)." All that exercise and weight loss was worth the effort. This is proof that your condition CAN get better. Of course, as with anything, your mileage may vary.

    1. That's a huge jump! I'm excited to see this good news and share in your enthusiasm, for sure. Do you mind sharing a little more about the diet and exercise changes you made? I'm curious to know what worked for you. Wishing you continued stability! -Melissa, copd team

    2. Thanks for the kind words! For my diet, I eliminated all the salt I could from my diet. I try to stay under 1,200 MG of salt a day. This was a suggestion from my cardiologist. He also is the one that restricted my liquid intake to 24-32 ounces a day. That's tough and I stay thirsty a lot but it sure helps keep the edema down (along with one Lasix 20mg per day). For food, I've cut out a lot! I eliminated foods with sodium so exist mainly on boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pork loin chops, and salmon. And, of course, I eat a LOT of salads.

  4. Amazing and your a true fighter, im still trying todo more excercise im only doing maybe 20 to 30 minutes a day on my treadmill, sometimes twice a day if i am coughing , ty for your great story your amazing , i have been fiending for a pizza so bad , but id rather live longer so again ty for your story , god bless ...

    1. I sure miss pizza, too!!! Thanks for the kind words. I recommend taking baby steps and trying to increase your distance, duration, or speed every day, week, or month. Whatever you feel comfortable with as long as you're making progress. I find it helpful to have a spreadsheet that I annotate every time I work on the treadmill so I have a visual of my progress. All the best to you!

    2. I have been told to drink plenty to thin down mucus so it ie easier to clear from lungs. Also on carbocisteine.

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