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The Dos and Don'ts of COPD Management

Last updated: October 2022

Learning the dos and don’ts often takes time when diagnosed with a chronic disease. The same is true of COPD.

So, I thought it would be neat to post the dos and don’ts here all in one post for your convenience.

If you want to add to this list, I invite you to do so in the comments below.

What to do and what to avoid when navigating COPD

Do See your doctor regularly.

Don’t Skip your doctor’s appointments.

Do Talk to your doctor about any symptoms you feel. These include new or worsening shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, etc.

Don’t Brush your symptoms off to aging or being out of shape.

Do Work with your doctor to find the best treatments for you.

Don't. Let your doctor control your doctor's appointments. You and your doctor are a team, with you being the most important member of that team. You are the boss. Your doctor works for you.

Do Take your medicines exactly as prescribed.

Don’t Quit taking your controller medicine just because you are breathing easy today.

Do Talk to your doctor if you suspect you are experiencing symptoms you think may be caused by one of your medicines. If your doctor agrees that the symptoms are side effects caused by the medicine, they may have you stop taking it and switch you to an alternate medicine. Your doctor may also have other ideas.

Don’t Stop taking your medicine without consulting your physician.

Do Organize your medicine in a way that works for you. For instance, keep your pills in a pill container, so you remember to take them and know if you forgot to take them.

Don’t Forget to take your medicine.

Do Use the correct inhaler technique. It is best to demonstrate your inhaler technique at your doctor’s visits. Your doctor can make any corrections to your technique if needed. This is important, as proper technique is needed to get the ideal distribution of medicine to your airways where it is needed.

Don’t Use your rescue inhaler more than prescribed. If you use it more than prescribed, this is often considered a sign of worsening COPD, and you must seek medical consultation. Rescue inhaler overuse is considered one of the "early warning signs of COPD."

Do Work with your doctor on creating a "COPD action plan." This plan helps you decide what actions to take when you observe your early warning symptoms.

Don’t Just try to wing it on your own. Your doctor is there to help you. If you feel something is wrong, seek help right away.

Do Know the early warning signs and symptoms of a COPD flare-up. Spotting these early, and taking swift actions, can help you prevent a COPD flare-up.

Don’t Ignore your early warning symptoms. Doing so may prevent you from getting the treatment you need to feel better.

Do Keep your COPD action plan where you or anyone can easily find it. An excellent place to keep it is on your refrigerator door.

Don't Put your written action plan in a location that may cause you to forget where you put it. Also, don't put it someplace where others won't be able to find it. Such as stuffing it into a drawer or closet.

Do Know that doctors and nurses and respiratory therapists are always available in the emergency room when you need them. They will offer you the treatment you deserve and need to feel better. If you feel “not quite right,” seek help immediately.

Don’t Try to tough it out.

Do Learn as much as possible about the diseases that affect your body. The more you know, the better capable you will be of working with your doctor to manage it.

Don't Toss those pamphlets your doctor gave you about COPD in the trash.

Do Be your own best advocate. You know your body better than anyone else. So it's up to you to explain your feelings or what is going on to your doctors.

So, these are some do's and don'ts I have thought of. Following the dos and not following the don'ts should help you in your quest to manage your COPD. This is all to help you breathe easier, live better, and live longer despite your diagnosis.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The COPD.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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