Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a common illness, especially among older adults. Its primary characteristics present as the combined indicators of bronchitis and emphysema, including a cough, wheezing, and frequent shortness of breath. However, with this condition, the symptoms can last significantly longer. Though it typically occurs as a result of prolonged lung damage from smoking, this condition can develop in anyone who has had long-term exposure to air pollution or even mold. Use these lifestyle tips for managing your COPD symptoms to help preserve your respiratory health in your later years.
Take Your Medications as Prescribed
Upon an official diagnosis of COPD, it’s common for physicians to prescribe targeted medications to help clear up the blockages in your esophagus. Taking them according to your doctor’s instructions will help you breathe more easily and control your symptoms in your daily life. With the right regimen, you may even start to see your condition improve, depending on the severity of your circumstances, so make sure to stick with it and talk to your doctor if you experience any side-effects.
Reduce Your Stress Levels
Finding ways to cut back on your stress is also an essential tip for managing your COPD symptoms. When we feel anxious or overwhelmed, it triggers our body’s internalized flight response. This reaction causes us to breathe faster as we subconsciously prepare to run away—but, for those with COPD, it can cause shortness of breath instead. Breathing becomes labored when this occurs, thus, preventing you from getting the amount of oxygen you need. Therefore, relaxation should be one of your top priorities.
Practice Techniques To Control Your Breathing
Additionally, as you’re working on your stress responses, one of the best ways to avoid a respiratory event is to practice controlling your breathing. The way we breathe can affect various systems within our bodies. It can calm us down, relax our muscles, and, as a result, help us gather more air into our lungs. For this reason, it’s important to use the proper breathing methods to get a handle on your COPD. Some of these techniques include belly breathing and counted breathing exercises.
Track Your Oxygen Saturation
Make sure, as well, that you develop the habit of tracking your oxygen saturation with a home pulse oximeter. These devices are easy to use and will accurately calculate the percentage of oxygen in your blood at a given time. As such, with an understanding of what normal readings should look like, you can stay informed of your current condition and recognize when you might have a problem.