When it comes to managing your COPD, you have more power — and more responsibility — than anyone else. Blacks are at higher risk of developing COPD and lung cancer. That’s why most lung rehabilitation programs put a strong emphasis on education. Experts will help you set goals and show you how to achieve them.
How to manage COPD
One piece of advice can’t get repeated enough: Quitting smoking now and forever is the best thing you can do for your lungs. You should also avoid secondhand smoke whenever possible.
A study published in BioMed Central Pulmonary Medicine found that exposure to secondhand smoke significantly worsened cases of COPD. You should also avoid chemical fumes and polluted air.
Taking your medicine as directed is also critically important. Missed doses can hamper your breathing and give your disease a chance to gain ground. If you have any doubts or concerns about your treatment, talk to your doctor.
Work with your doctor
Your doctor will probably encourage you to start an exercise program. Working out may be tiring and difficult at first, but don’t give up. Increasing your strength and stamina can go a long way toward increasing your quality of life.
You can also learn breathing exercises that will help you get through the day without putting too much strain on your lungs.
For example, many people use muscles in the rib cage, neck and abdomen to breathe, rather than using the diaphragm, which is much more efficient. You can practice using your diaphragm by lying on your back, placing a hand on your stomach, and breathing so that your hand rises and falls as you inhale and exhale. Your doctor can show you other exercises as well.
You’ll need to stay in close contact with your doctor from here on out. Have an appointment at least once every six months, even if you’re