Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) doesn’t come and go the way asthma tends to do. The symptoms are often relatively stable. But that doesn’t mean you should back off on managing them. By actively taking charge of stable COPD, you can make living with the disease a little easier.
COPD develops slowly and worsens gradually. Without dramatic changes, it’s easy to lose sight of how much difference your self-care efforts really are making. Yet by following your treatment plan and adopting a healthy lifestyle, you can help yourself feel better, remain more active, and stay healthier for longer. Below are 5 keys to managing stable COPD.
Get ongoing healthcare. See your healthcare provider on a regular basis, even when you’re feeling fine. Bring along your medicines and a list of any questions.
Follow treatment advice. Be sure to take your medicines as prescribed and refill your prescriptions before they run out.
Quit smoking. If you smoke, quitting is the best way to prevent further lung damage. Ask your provider about programs and products that can help you quit. Options include counseling, nicotine replacement products, and non-nicotine medicines. Seek out support from family and friends as well.
Avoid pollutants. Steer clear of dust, air pollution, chemical fumes, and secondhand smoke, which can irritate lungs. Stay inside and close the windows when there is a lot of pollution in the outdoor air. If your home needs to be painted or sprayed for insects, have it done while you are away.
Guard against flu. Get a flu shot every year. In addition, wash your hands often to protect yourself from germs, and do your best to avoid close contact with people who are sick.