exercise equipment and healthy food

A New Year, A New Management Plan

Over 11 million Americans live with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) a lung disease which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, and makes it more difficult to breathe over time. And while there's no cure for COPD, much can be done to treat and help manage the disease.

Consider the steps below when creating this year’s COPD Management Plan with a healthcare provider:

Mild or Moderate Exercise.

It might seem odd that exercising improves shortness of breath — but it works! Even mild exercise can improve use of oxygen, energy levels, stress and depression, sleep and shortness of breath. Stretching, chair aerobics, resistance training and pulmonary rehabilitation help the heart send oxygen to the body, making it easier to breathe.

Nutrition Modifications.

Oxygen and food are the raw materials of metabolism, the process of changing food to fuel in the body. For some people with COPD, eating a diet with fewer carbohydrates and more fat helps them breathe easier. And eating four to six small meals a day enables the diaphragm to move freely and lets lungs fill with air and empty out more easily.

Freedom From Smoking®.

Smoke and secondhand smoke are triggers for individuals with COPD. Family and friends can help by not smoking indoors or around others. The American Lung Association’s proven quit smoking program is available at FreedomFromSmoking.org, or individuals can get free support from trained tobacco cessation counselors by calling the Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNGUSA.

Breathing Techniques.

Practicing deep-breathing exercises like Belly Breathing or Pursed Lip breathing can help relax the airways and resume normal breathing when an individual is experiencing shortness of breath.

Emotional Support.

COPD is a challenging disease that sometimes stirs up difficult emotions in patients and their loved ones. While coping with COPD, many may feel depressed, sad and angry. We have a strong support network for individuals and caretakers that includes:

For more information about COPD from the American Lung Association, and tips on how to better manage care, visit Lung.org/copd.

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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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