Being diagnosed with COPD can be a daunting experience. It can affect many aspects of your life, so it is understandable that your diagnosis might leave you feeling worried and overwhelmed.
However, with the right lifestyle choices, it is still possible to do the things that you love, and to live well with COPD.
The medication that you have been prescribed will not cure your COPD, but will manage your symptoms to make you feel better, as well as prevent flare-ups.
It is essential that you take your medicine exactly as it has been intended. This means that you need to take the right amount of medicine, in the right way, at the right time.
If you stop smoking, you can significantly reduce the rate at which you lose lung function, improve your symptoms, make your COPD easier to manage and improve your overall quality of life. 11
Your lung function will improve if you stop smoking at any age, even if you are over the age of 65 11 , so it is never too late to quit!
Other benefits that are associated with giving up smoking include reducing the risk of getting smoke-related lung cancer and the risk of having a heart attack, living longer and improving the health of your friends and family by reducing their smoke inhalation. 11
If you are having difficulty or need advice on how to quit smoking, contact your doctor or a member of your healthcare team for support.
Get an annual flu jab: People with COPD are at a higher risk from chest infections, so as a protective measure, get a yearly flu jab and a vaccination against pneumonia.
Watch what you breathe: If possible, avoid areas high in air pollution, chemical fumes or dust.
Go for regular check-up’s: COPD is a progressive disease that gradually gets worse, so it is important to have regular check ups to monitor your condition.
COPD patients who regularly perform exercise will experience improved breathing, less severe symptoms, increased energy levels, improved mood and improved muscle strength. 12
A structured program of pulmonary rehabilitation, provided by experienced healthcare professionals, is a great option for most people with COPD. It could include walking, cycling, arm exercises and strength building exercises, plus dietary and psychological advice. Be sure to ask your doctor for more details.
Maintain a healthy weight: COPD patients who maintain a healthy weight have fewer symptoms than compared with patients who are overweight 13 or underweight. 14
To achieve and maintain a healthy weight, it is important to eat a nutritious diet with regular physical exercise. If you need any more help or advice about your diet or weight, then contact your GP for further information.