Fighting Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

If you suffer from chronic asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema, your doctor may diagnose your condition as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD.

Although the disease has no known cure, you may be able to ease your condition with inhalers, oxygen, and other medications. Even so, researchers say symptoms of COPD are linked to stress, both as a cause and as a result. Therefore, one of the important ways to manage your disease is to manage your stress level.

Eight Stress Management Tips and Techniques

  1. Exercise: It’s no secret that regular exercise benefits not just your body but also your mood. You may be reluctant to exercise for fear of triggering an attack, but gentle exercises can help. Speak with your doctor about an excerise regimen that can be right for you. If advised, sign up for a restorative yoga class or take slow walks outside. Bring a friend with you if possible, and carry a cell phone or wear a GPS-enabled medical alert necklace in case you need assistance.
  2. Relaxation: Basic relaxation techniques can significantly reduce stress. Audiobooks offer guided meditations and relaxation regimens that can help you “chill out.” You can also teach your muscles to relax by tensing and then releasing each muscle group, starting with your feet and moving up through the rest of your body.
  3. Breathing Exercises: Specialized breathing exercises have been devised specifically to help people with impaired breathing. Check your local library or the Internet for more information.
  4. Improve Your Diet: Cut back on empty calories like cake, cookies, and candy. Replace them with fresh fruits and vegetables and foods rich in fiber, vitamin D, and calcium.
  5. Say No to Alcohol and Soda: Beer and hard liquor are high in sugar, and carbonated beverages may also cause bloating. Stay healthier with natural drinks like spring water.
  6. Seek Counseling: If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed and emotionally burdened, seek out a counseling service. Working on the mind part of the “mind-body connection” is a way to feel better.
  7. Strengthen Community Ties: Stay in touch with your family. Contact old friends and look for new ones. Join a community group that interests you. If you have a computer, reach out through e-mail or social media like Facebook. If you don’t have a computer, you can always find one at your local library.
  8. Consider a Medical Alert Service: Medical alert systems are designed to provide you with access to help 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, at the press of a help button. For individuals with a fear or history of COPD attacks, having access to help 24/7 can help provide a sense of confidence and peace.

Easier breathing can be yours with a little prevention and lifestyle changes that enhance health and reduce stress. But take note: It’s always a good idea to check with your doctor first before you embark on a new exercise regimen or eating plan.

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