If you have emphysema, the 17,000 breaths Best Health says humans take each day become a real struggle. If you’ve recently been diagnosed and are now living with lung disease, there are certain steps you can take to make each day as enjoyable as possible.
Make Lifestyle Changes
Best Health suggests several lifestyle changes that make living with lung disease easier. Some may be simple and others may require a hefty amount of self-discipline, but all will be worth the effort. They include:
- Quit smoking: If you continue to smoke, your condition will only worsen, regardless of the treatments you seek. Stopping smoking prolongs your life and helps you enjoy every day to the fullest.
- Learn breathing techniques: Practice pursed-lip breathing on your own or join a program hosted by your local hospital to learn beneficial breathing techniques.
- Seek out good air: Stay indoors on days with extreme temperatures and humidity or when pollen counts are high, and don’t allow family members or guests to smoke in your home.
- Stay hydrated: Drink at least eight glasses of water each day to thin mucus secretions.
- Protect yourself against infection: Avoid people with colds or the flu, wash your hands frequently and get vaccinated every year.
- Start an exercise routine: Mild to moderate exercise improves your endurance and ability to breathe while performing day-to-day activities.
After you’ve been diagnosed, make living with lung disease easier by seeking treatment immediately. Best Health suggests the following:
- Take recommended medication: Drug therapy can help you breathe easier. Your doctor will undoubtedly prescribe bronchodilator drugs in the form of an inhaler to relax your airways. Two types of bronchodilator drugs are anticholinergic drugs and beta2-agonists. Corticosteroids, also delivered through inhalers, help reduce inflammation caused by emphysema.
- Start oxygen therapy: If your lung function is far below where it should be, your doctor may prescribe supplemental oxygen. Depending on your condition, therapy may be continuous or intermittent. Various oxygen units available today ensure you can stay mobile while completing your therapy.
Living with lung disease can still be enjoyable if you take lifestyle changes and treatment options seriously. To learn more about your disease, download the free guide, "Understanding COPD: A Glossary of 15 Commonly Used Terms" today.