Happy COPD New Year

It seems that every New Year, I and so many others begin with a host of resolutions. Every year I resolve to lose weight. Every year I fail. This year, I intend on succeeding.

Belief in success

When I decided to “diet” again, my first reaction was one of concern. Concern that this year may be another fail. How can I succeed when failure is at the forefront of my mind? I need to have faith in myself. There must be a belief that I can succeed. Faith, regardless of my past resolutions, lets me celebrate that this is a new year and a new beginning.

You see, I also need to prove to myself that there is a need to lose weight not only for my general health but also for my COPD health. It could make a difference for my other health issues as well: asthma, pulmonary hypertension, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, reflux, sleep apnea, and more. The common denominator which can affect each of my health issues is...drumroll...obesity.

Taking care of the whole self

Exercise

Exercise is so important to overall health. It helps to build a strong body and mind. Discuss exercises with your doctor. He/she might recommend that you talk to a physical therapist or follow a yoga program. There are so many examples of things online.

Nutrition

Eating healthy foods is so important for the whole person, physically and mentally. If you are uncertain of what to eat, have your doctor recommend a nutritionist who can help you figure out meal planning and healthy snacks.

Medication

Take medications as directed. This applies to prescription medications as well as over-the-counter medications. It is so important that your doctor knows everything that you take. Some can have a negative effect on you when taking the others. It is important to keep an updated medication list.

Oxygen

Oxygen is a medication. Some people are prescribed to use oxygen at night and others for 24 hours. Did you know that oxygen is not just for feeding your lungs? If prescribed, it is also important for the health of your other organs as well.

Seeing your doctor

See your doctor as scheduled and as needed. That way you can discuss any health concerns that come up. If it's about medications, you certainly want to talk through everything with your doctor before starting or stopping.

Drink water

Drinking water is so important to prevent dehydration and keep your body functioning highly. If you notice that you are retaining fluids, discuss this with your doctor. You might see edema (swelling) in your ankles and even your hands. Your doctor might prescribe a medication to help with the fluid. He/she might recommend that you elevate your feet, or wear compression stockings.

Support system

A support system is so important. This can be a therapist, a face-to-face support group, or even an online COPD support group such as you find here. You may not understand the need now, but at some point, you might want to talk with others. Family members can also benefit from a support system because COPD is a family disease. It can affect everyone in a patient's life.

Resolution

When I think of all the times that I have started to diet, I realize that food to me is a comfort. When I am upset, sad, angry, or when I am on prednisone, I often turn to food. Stop! I am my own worst enemy. You see, I can have conversations like this with myself. Guess what it makes me want to do… eat! Well, guess what, I cheated. I have given myself a head start. I have already lost fifteen pounds.

Know that we are here for you whatever your resolution is. Happy New Year!

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