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Lifestyle Changes to Help Cope With COPD

A diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can be a shock — but that doesn’t mean patients have to stop living their lives. COPD sufferers can manage their illness just by making a few lifestyle changes.

Most importantly, COPD sufferers need to stay healthy. If they haven’t already, it is essential to quit smoking — the top cause for bronchitis and emphysema, the diseases that comprise COPD. This can be difficult, so talk to your doctor for cessation strategies and prescription nicotine replacement therapies such as patches, gum and inhalers.

Following a healthy eating plan such as the Mediterranean diet — vegetables, fish, nuts, olive oil and whole grains — can help reduce chronic inflammation while supplying plenty of fiber, antioxidants and other nutrients. Eating well can also strengthen your immune system.

Lastly, COPD sufferers should stay active. According to an article published in the International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, pulmonary rehabilitation, which is tailored to individual patients, includes exercise that promotes “health-enhancing behaviors” and improves a patient’s emotional and physical wellbeing. Research also shows exercise training can improve exercise tolerance and help COPD sufferers find relief from shortness of breath.

Read the full article for more tips on managing COPD.