Self-care plays a vital role when it comes to the management of a chronic medical condition, however, it is especially important if your someone that’s suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD in short. Usually, the initial response anyone has when they’re getting their COPD diagnosis is to expect it’ll grow worse as time goes by and that you can’t do anything about it.
It’s a very understandable reaction because this medical condition is actually one that’s irreversible and any lung damage is usually permanent. However, that does not mean that this medical condition has its own unique inevitable course.
Read on about how to identify and take control over your COPD flare up.
How the condition progresses form one person to another varies greatly, and there are numerous things that can be done to prevent the disease from getting worse or becoming more severe. Taking control is how it all begins.
Certain factors can help cause symptoms of this disease to become more and more severe. Finding out how you can effectively avoid these triggers can greatly help. COPD flare-ups are when you develop new symptoms or when the symptoms you already have become a lot worse.
It’s crucial you treat these particular episodes and work towards preventing future flare-ups due to the fact that they can cause your disease to progress faster which, in turn, may sometimes require your hospitalization.
Signs Of COPD Flare-Ups
During a COPD flare-up, your lung and airway functions change both dramatically and quickly. You’ll sometimes suddenly experience mucus increases which clog up bronchial tubes, or worse still the muscles surrounding your airways may significantly constrict, cutting off air supply.
Here are the symptoms:
- Shortness of breath and breathlessness: You’ll either feel like you’re gasping for air or you can’t breathe deeply
- Increased cough attacks: Coughing helps one rid their airways and lungs of irritants and blockages.
- Wheezing: Hearing a whistling noise or wheeze when you’re breathing is a sign that the air inside your airpaths are being forced to pass through narrower spaces.
- Mucus increase: You may start coughing up a lot of mucus, and it might not have the normal color it usually has.
- Sleep problems or fatigue: Exhaustion and sleep disturbances can be signs that your lungs and body are getting less oxygen.
- Cognitive impairment: Memory lapses, depression, slowed down thought processing and confusion can mean your brain is not receiving enough oxygen to function properly.
Don’t wait to see if symptoms improve. If you notice them getting worse and you happen to be struggling to breath, you need to seek medical assistance right away.
Tips On How You Can Manage Your Flare-Ups
When you experience flare-ups, the first thing you need to do is go through the COPD action-plan you and the doctor came up with. It’ll most likely outline the specific actions you need to take or the medications or doses you’ll need to use to curb the symptoms.
1. Quit With The Cigarettes
Putting out your cigarette once and for all is one of the most important things you’ll need to do if you want to effectively avoid the development of stage 3 and 4 COPD. Smoking causes your lungs to inflame which eventually leads to the overproduction of mucus.
This mucus accumulation is why your lungs can’t get enough air and unless that persistent inflammation of the lungs is stopped, your COPD will only grow worse.
Even though you’re already at the later stages, try and quit smoking as much as you can because it’s really never too late. Not only does dropping the habit permanently help with slowing down the progression of the disease, but as time goes by you’ll begin to notice more benefits.
2. Avoid Air Irritants
There’s no point in you quitting cigarettes if you’re going to allow others to smoke in your presence. Secondhand smoke is well-known to be just as poisonous, and even potentially carcinogenic, as what you’d have inhaled by yourself. When it comes to the detriment of good health, do not be polite. Ask the people around you to either stop smoking or smoke somewhere else.
This also can be applied to occupational exposure to harsh chemicals and dust as well as any other types of air pollution. If you want your lungs protected, you’ll typically need to make some very difficult choices and decisions.
3. Regular Exercise
The importance of regular exercise is usually overlooked when coming up with COPD treatment plans. Aside from the obvious health advantages it offers, informed workout programs can help one regain that sense of control over their lives whilst still increasing feelings of both self-esteem and wellness.
To get the most out of your workouts, begin by evaluating your fitness tolerance with a medical professional. This will let you know the amount of exercise you can realistically manage at the beginning. Armed with this data in hand, you can then organize meetups with fitness professionals on how to come up with a routine that works for you.
4. Practicing Good Nutrition
Some folks that suffer from COPD need almost ten times more energy just to breathe compared to what other regular people use. While healthy diets can’t reverse this disease, not only can it help you feel so much better but it can also provide you with more energy for your mundane, daily activities, such as breathing and the like.
Simply put, OCPD place huge amounts of stress on the body and it also burns all the fuel one gets from food. As such, folks suffering from this disease will typically need to increase their daily calorie intake, ideally with foods that are considered healthy and rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants.
Your Health, Your Choices
There currently is no cure to a COPD flare up. However, lifestyle changes and certain medications can slow down its progression which, in turn, can also eventually help keep all your symptoms under control.
Work with your doctor to come up with plans on how you can effectively manage the disease. The plan will often include learning how to identify flare-up symptoms and having them treated as soon as possible.
To take the first step towards your treatment, contact us today for more information.n