Life is a battle to begin with and the battle becomes harder if you have to fight for your breath (like literally!). If you experience difficulty breathing with even a slight exertion then it is high time, you pay a visit to a chest specialist, as breathlessness is the primary symptom of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
According to a survey carried out by the National Library of Medicine it has been estimated that 30 million Indians are victims of COPD. Now the question is, are you one of them?
The ABCD of COPD
COPD is a term that describes a progressive obstructive lung condition caused by diseases like Emphysema, Chronic Bronchitis and Refractory Asthma. In COPD, the air passages in your lungs get inflamed. Also, the large mucus producing gland in the lungs (bronchi) become bigger, producing greater amounts of mucus, thereby limiting the passage of air through your lungs.
Living with COPD
It is important to understand that though COPD has a lot of complications; it is not always a lost battle. There are certain lifestyle changes that you can adopt to make your symptoms less apparent. Outlined below are a few strategies that will help you to tread on softer greener grass while avoiding the traditional downhill road that COPD usually takes.
Dose of good health
To deal with COPD, you will have to befriend certain medications. Bronchodilators, corticosteroids, antibiotics, oxygen therapy and pulmonary rehabilitation are “friends” who can help you manage this condition and prevent it from getting worse. They help to reduce the swelling in the lungs, limit mucus accumulation and further flare ups. Taking the right medications on a regular basis will help you fight the mesh of limitations that this condition bestows upon you.
Kill the fad for the fag
There is absolutely no alternative to giving up smoking. When you smoke you inhale harmful toxins like carbon monoxide that reduces the amount of oxygen in your blood stream. Smoking can give you a momentary sense of relief but in the long run, it can cause life threatening ailments. You should also be careful with respect to being exposed to passive smoking. Passive smoking tends to aggravate the symptoms of COPD, so for the sake of your health, stay away from smokers.
COPD and its related symptoms have a distinct connection with your body weight and energy levels. While being overweight results in you falling short of breath more easily, being underweight too has its own share of disadvantages. This condition exhausts your energy levels quickly and causes fatigue as the breathing process becomes very strenuous. So replenish your calorie stores by feasting on whole grains, colourful vegetables and fruits and throw in some lean protein like fish and eggs.
Incorporate good amount of fluids in your daily routine. Fluids help to keep the mucus from accumulating in your lungs. This lets you breathe easily without the company of congestion. But make sure that these fluids you consume are non-caffeinated as caffeine could hinder the effects of your medications and induce dehydration.
Stay away from the devil’s breath (pollution)
Increasing levels of pollution has affected millions worldwide. But you cannot take the risk of exposing yourself to it. Pollution can increase the symptoms of COPD like breathlessness, respiratory tract irritation, coughing, tightness of the chest etc. Make sure you use anti-pollution masks when you step out. Also religiously wash your face, gargle with warm water and blow your nose when you are indoors. This helps in curbing infections and health problems associated with COPD.
COPD is a disease that occurs as a result of pursuing unhealthy lifestyle habits and not protecting oneself from pollution. Only a small fraction of people develop this disease due to genetic disorders where a person lacks a particular type of protein called alpha 1 antitrypsin. So exercise regularly, eat healthy and keep your anti-pollution masks on to keep COPD at bay. For the best treatment advice for COPD, consult a pulmonologist without delay. Also, if you are looking out for respiratory care equipment to manage your current health woes, get in touch with Portea for world class health care equipment delivered at the comfort of your home.