Decalogue of self-care in patients with COPD

Written by: Dr. Luis Miguel Domínguez Juncal
Published: | Updated: 16/07/2018
Edited by: Top Doctors®

1.- NO SMOKING: Tobacco smoke is the main cause of COPD in the Western world. Quitting smoking is difficult, but not impossible and always provides a benefit for COPD patients: prevents or reduces the progression of the disease and increases life expectancy. Quitting smoking is probably the best treatment for COPD.

2.- MAKE EXERCISE: Exercise increases the use of oxygen, strengthens the muscles, reduces fatigue and helps control dyspnea (choking). Any exercise is good always. The goal is to exceed 30 minutes of physical activity per day. The easiest thing to do is to start doing everyday activities such as walking, climbing stairs, riding a bicycle, ... If you feel fatigued when exercising, do not give up.. Simply interrupt the exercise, rest as long as necessary, and when you feel better continue with physical activity gently. You must perform exercises to strengthen the lower part of the body (walking, stationary bike, ..) and the upper body (light exercise with weights of 1 kg).

3.- FEED GOOD: Maintaining an optimal nutritional status is crucial. The diet should be rich in fruits, vegetables and fish, avoiding the excessive intake of carbohydrates (bread, potatoes, pasta, ...), flatulent foods and beverages. Avoid heavy digestions, making 5-6 meals a day, spread out in small amounts, eating slowly and chewing well. Take plenty of liquids (approximately 1.5-2 liters), as long as there is no contraindication in this regard. The best drink is the water.

4.- PUT YOUR VACCINES: The annual administration of the influenza vaccine reduces the number of exacerbations during the epidemic periods. The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is also recommended.

5.- CARE FOR YOUR WEIGHT: Obesity limits exercise capacity and aggravates dyspnea.


6.- TAKE THE MEDICATION: Perform the treatment correctly. Not only is it important to take the medication, but to know what it is for and how it should be administered.

7.- GO TO YOUR DOCTOR. Go to regular check-ups with your doctor to monitor COPD and maintain or adjust treatment. Do not forget to control the "added diseases" (high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, depression, anxiety, ..)

8.- ACKNOWLEDGE THE SYMPTOMS OF PUSH: Learn to identify the warning symptoms of an exacerbation of COPD: increased dyspnea, changes in color and consistency of sputum, ... In these situations, consult your doctor.

9.- TAKE CARE OF YOUR ENVIRONMENT: Protect yourself from harmful substances from the environment (tobacco smoke or fuel such as wood or coal, pollution and environmental pollution). Keep your home in an optimal environment (45% humidity and temperature of 19-21 º C). Use loose clothing, appropriate to each time of year, avoiding belts and sashes.. Make sure you have good sleep hygiene.

10.- ENJOY YOUR LIFE: Do not give up enjoying. Maintain interest in recreational activities and social distraction. If some activities (personal hygiene, sexual relations, ...) cause you to suffocate, consult your doctor.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

By Dr. Luis Miguel Domínguez Juncal
Pulmonary Disease

Pulmonary specialist with over twenty years of experience. Doctor Dominguez develops its healthcare activities in the Chiron Hospital A Coruña, is an expert on asthma, COPD, smoking, OSA and lung cancer. He has published over 30 articles in specialized journals and several books, including "Smoking: Epidemic do Seculo XX." or "Emergency Manual in Pneumology" belongs to several medical society included the European Respiratory Society (ERS)

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

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