Chronic Obstructive Plmonary Disease (COPD) is a lifelong lung condition. It often develops in individuals who have long-term exposure to airborne irritants. These irritants have a detrimental effect on the tiny air sacs (alveoli) of the lungs. COPD often materializes in the form of chest congestion, shortness of breath, mucus retention, and wheezing. All these symptoms, when exacerbated, affect the quality of life of the affected individual.
Since medical science hasn’t developed the complete cure for COPD, you can only focus on reducing its effects to lead a better life. In this post, we will discuss all the steps you can take to reduce COPD effects without continuous physician supervision and incurring substantial treatment and care expenses.
The following are the three improvement measures you need to take to reduce the effects of COPD.
1. Improve Your Home
The first thing you need to do is improve your home in line with your COPD problem. By home improvement, we mean you have to renovate it to guarantee its environment doesn’t have COPD-aggravating airborne pollutants. You need to do a couple of these things to improve your home.
- Remove carpets from all the floors. No matter how good your vacuum cleaner is, it can’t take care of all the microscopic dust and other irritants that get trapped in the carpet and eventually escape into the air.
- Make sure that your HVAC system features HEPA filters. These modern air filters can trap particles as small as 0.3 microns.
- You should also install a standalone air purifier in the room/space where you spend most of your time.
- Keep your room well-ventilated with fresh air.
Avoid the spaces that have fresh coats of paint. Also, keep yourself away from cleaning chemicals and solutions as much as possible. When you ensure your home doesn’t host any airborne irritants while actively keeping yourself away from them, you will experience an improvement in your COPD condition.
2. Improve Your Lifestyle
You also need to make multiple lifestyle changes to reduce COPD effects without banking on medications and treatments. To begin with, get rid of your sedentary lifestyle. A lazy person’s lungs can’t be as healthy as those of an individual living an active lifestyle.
Even if you can’t engage in high-endurance exercises, make sure that your physical movement burns a couple of hundreds of extra calories every day. You can do that by taking stairs instead of elevators and going to the neighborhood convenience store on foot rather than using a vehicle.
Apart from moving your body a bit more, you also need to change your diet to improve lung health. Improving lung health through a regular diet is a great way to take the edge off of COPD’s effects. Add and increase the consumption of pumpkin, beetroot, Swiss chard, turmeric, and blueberry in your daily meals. All these natural edibles are packed with micronutrients that heal the lungs.
As a COPD patient, there is no way you can smoke. If you haven’t relinquished this bad habit, dump it immediately. Also, ditch your smoker friends’ gathering to avoid passive smoking without stressing over what they would think. If they are your true friends, they won’t mind a bit.
3. Improve Your Breathing
Since almost all COPD symptoms take a toll on breathing, you need to focus on its improvement. It is essential for the breathing recovery after a COPD exacerbation spell. Moreover, improved breathing helps you keep your lungs and breathing muscles strong enough against the COPD symptoms.
You can improve your breathing through a range of DIY breathing exercises.
It activates important breathing muscles (diaphragm) that subsequently facilitate deep breathing.
- Sit down straight with uptight shoulders or lay down on your back.
- Put one hand on your belly and the other on the chest (above the sternum).
- Inhale through the nose and feel your stomach rising against your hand.
- Take out the air through pursed lips and press your stomach gently so that diaphragm can exhale more air.
Huff Cough Breathing
This breathing exercise prepares you against the mucus problem of COPD.
- Breathe in through the nostrils.
- Your exhale should be in cough style as if you are laughing sarcastically.
- Engage your abdominal muscles for this unique exhalation.
You can also find easy-to-use breathing devices for COPD and use them to improve your respiration. A regular breathing device for COPD consists of a nose clamp, valve(s), and a nozzle. The main function of these breathing devices is to let you breathe at different pressure levels to strengthen your inspiratory and expiratory muscles.
- Put a clamp on your nose.
- Put the nozzle in the mouth.
- Adjust the air pressure through the valve and breathe through your mouth.
Make reps of the above steps and do them in sets of 2-3 at different pressure levels. Regular device-assisted breathing will eventually help you reduce COPD effects and symptoms.
A respiratory training device like Orygen Dual Valve can be useful in this regard. The regular and correct use of this device strengthens your inspiratory and expiratory muscles. Those strengthened respiratory muscles improve lung function and reduce COPD effects without needing treatments and supplements.