Those four words I’m hearing more and more. It doesn’t matter whether the COPDer is Stage 1 or Stage 4, so many struggle with tiredness and exhaustion, confusion, depression, pain, body parts not functioning as they should, side effects from medication, struggle to gain weight, struggle to lose, and coping with other health issues as well. This is real, it’s not a figment of our imagination.
Learning how to cope is so important – and that doesn’t mean climbing back into bed and pulling the covers over your head. I’ve thought of that before. Then it came to mind that I need to pick my battles. Sick of being sick is a reality, but I’m not ready to give up. Through suggestions or articles that you may read or hear, take what you can use and leave the rest.It’s important to make your body as healthy as it can be with what you have to work with.
Some of these things may help to slow the progression of your disease.
- Exercise is so very important. even if you aren’t able to do many, you can find some on you tube or other sites. Some you can do from your chair. Walking makes a difference too. Be safe when doing these. Is there physical rehab where you are? Ask your doctor, about this. He/she should also approve of any exercise program that you do.
- A well balanced good diet is also so important. It helps ward off infections. It takes more energy for COPDers to even breathe. For these people, they have difficulty maintaining their weight. Being underweight makes you feel weak and tired, and makes you more susceptible to infection. People with COPD use more energy breathing than the average person. It might require 10 times the calories needed by a person without COPD. It’s so important that you consume enough calories so that you can produce energy to prevent wasting or weakening of the diaphragm and other pulmonary muscles. Eat 6 smaller meals that are healthier and higher calorie. Being overweight makes your heart and lungs work harder, they make it more difficult to breathe. It’s so important that you eat healthy and watch your calories. Exercise makes a difference too.
- Medications are provided for a reason. They should be taken as directed. Your COPD medications are likely given a medication that will help open your airways so that you can breathe. Some might be a vitamin, or something to help reduce your edema. If you are having side effects or are thinking of a medication you want to try, talk to your doctor. He/she is the only one who can diagnose your needs and treat you.
- Supplemental oxygen is a treatment and must be prescribed by a doctor. There is testing that helps determine that you are needing and qualified for oxygen. Some people are on oxygen nights, some 24/7. Some may be on oxygen at stage 3 and others might not need at stage 4. Each person is different and unique. One method is arterial, where blood is drawn from the artery at your wrist. This measures O2 (oxygen) as well as CO2 (carbon dioxide). The other is determined with a pulse-oximeter as a sleep study or in the office. With 88% or below, you will likely qualify for oxygen.
- See your doctor whenever you have a question or concern, this is so important. This way your doctor knows what is going on with you. He/she can determine too, what might be making you sick and how to help you cope with it. Take notes so that you remember what you need to discuss at your appointment.
- A support system is also important. This can be face to face with a counselor or support group. It can be with an online support group as well. I have my own therapy too. What would we do without Facebook that brings us all together. However, it’s healthy to do other things.
- Hobbies and crafts are wonderful, reading as well. I like Soduko and puzzles, they are supposed to keep the brain sharp. I don’t know if they are working yet. Lol The grandkids and I enjoy chatting and messaging. I do family calendars and things that help to build memories. Our times together are the best. Our one year old grandson we saw in November. He knew us from face-timing regularly. Family can great. Sometimes relationships need extra work and sometimes a person needs to step back, but that’s how life is. The struggles can make us sick too, but we have our support systems and our own creativity too.
Always know that there is someone there for you and that you aren’t alone.