Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is described as a progressive disease, meaning it develops slowly and the symptoms gradually worsen over time. Although there is no known cure, COPD sufferers should not feel hopeless. New treatments and lifestyle changes are slowing progression of the disease while helping people feel better and remain more active. An article from the The Spectrum highlights ways COPD patients can educate themselves and limit the impact COPD has on their life.
The first major point is to know the signs of COPD. Because the disease typically progresses very slowly, many people do not recognize the symptoms until it they become debilitating.
In addition to knowing the signs and symptoms, it is helpful to understand the stages of COPD, as each level has different treatment options. The four stages of COPD are mild, moderate, severe, and very severe. These stages are based on measurements of the amount or flow of air as you inhale and exhale.
In addition to knowing the signs and symptoms, it is helpful to understand the stages of COPD, as each level has different treatment options. There four stages of COPD are mild, moderate, severe and very severe, and are based on measurements of the amount or flow of air as you inhale and exhale.
At any stage of COPD, it is imperative to avoid lung irritants such as smoking, chemical fumes, dust, or areas with dense air pollution, as these can exacerbate the symptoms. It is also important to get regular exercise to keep the lungs functioning at maximum capacity. While very severe stage COPD sufferers may be limited here, engaging in physical therapy known as pulmonary rehabilitation has been shown to improve shortness of breath and quality of life, and provide strategies for coping with COPD.
Education, awareness and knowing what to avoid can help prevent COPD from inhibiting routine activities, allowing for a better quality of life and symptom management.