A speech bubble emerges from a rural home, including illustrations of people doing yoga, hiking and being grateful alongside fruits, vegetables and a drinking glass of water.

Managing Our Health

Healthcare can be problematic for those with COPD who live in rural areas. There isn't a pulmonologist in our area; the nearest specialist affiliated with our medical group is two hundred miles away. We don't have pulmonary rehab available either. I like my doctor, but I wouldn't say she is highly knowledgeable about COPD.

So I have learned that my day-to-day health is up to me. I discuss my health plans with my doctor, and she is kind enough to listen. However, I don't drive other than in my town so, I cannot see a doctor who has more experience with COPD.

My personal healthcare tips

What can we do as individuals to best manage our health? I exercise, eat healthy, drink plenty of fluids, practice gratitude, avoid stress, and get good sleep. This is my daily goal. It is easy enough to accomplish but, I have to be pretty determined to stay on track.


My exercise varies depending on the time of year. I walk a few trails around town during the spring and summer months. But once fall hits, and we head into winter, I have to find alternative exercises that keep me motivated. I have a peddler I use, but I find it utterly mundane. I love yoga, it is a great way to stretch the muscles, and it is so good for core strength and balance.

A healthy diet

Eating healthy is a must for me. A few months ago, I started a diet for eating clean. It isn't a strict diet, which makes it simple. It is a way of eating that I really enjoy. The concept is to eat foods that are not highly processed and eat lots of fruits and vegetables. I would encourage every COPD patient to find an anti-inflammatory diet that works for them.

Drink lots of fluids

Hydration is another crucial component of healthy lungs. It helps to thin our mucous and makes it easier to expel. The last thing we need is sticky mucous in our lungs. That is a recipe for disaster. I drink a smoothie for breakfast and try to drink six to eight glasses of water a day.

Don't stress, be grateful

Practicing gratitude and avoiding stress are both hugely important. I have three set times a day that I take a few minutes and consider the things I am grateful for in my life. If you haven't tried this mental exercise, I encourage you to do so. Avoiding stress goes without saying. I know that it is easier said than done but, it must be part of our healthcare plan.


Sleep is vital to everyone's well-being. Turn your devices off a half-hour before bedtime if you struggle with sleep. You might also try meditation before heading to bed. Practicing being in the present moment is helpful. It tends to help me when my mind starts wandering.

The common denominator

Every one of us is different, but the common denominator is our desire to keep our bodies healthy, stay out of the hospital, and enjoy life. No matter where you live or your situation with your doctor, you have to find your way to a better life. What are some of your tips or tricks for staying in control of your health?

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