The 21st century saw a huge rise in the chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD), and the goal of primary care physicians became—preventing acute exacerbations (AECOPD). In 2008, COPD surpassed stroke as the leading cause of death in the United States alone. The high prevalence of COPD, means seasonal exacerbations of the patients with the advent of winters and most specialists like Best Pulmonologist in Lahore working to ensure their patients cope up with the disease.
Research data shows that acute exacerbations of COPD compromise the quality of life of patients, even in those who do not require hospitalization. In those who require hospitalization, COPD is surprisingly lethal. This is why, the goal in COPD, has shifted to preventing these exacerbations, instead of dealing with them once they occur.
How to Prevent COPD Exacerbations?
The mainstay of prevention in COPD exacerbations is lifestyle modification and risk factor reduction; in other words—eat healthy, avoid smoke, use oxygen and take your medication. Here are a few tips to avoid ending up at the hospital if you have COPD.
Smoke contains harmful chemicals that irritate the airway when inhaled and trigger the inflammatory response of the body. If you are a smoker already, work on quitting. If you live with second hand smoke, work on lowering your exposure to it.
Get the Annual Flu Shot
Every season, the prevalent strain of flu virus changes and therefore the vaccine available for it also changes. Every COPD patient should therefore get vaccinated every year against the influenza virus so their risk of severe infection drops.
Good nutrition strengthens the immune system and enables it to fight infections and acute exacerbations. A diet with fewer carbs and more fat is easier on the body of those with COPD. This is because carbs metabolism makes more carbon dioxide than fats, and needs to be exhaled. Instead of simple carbs, choose complex carbs like whole grains, vegetables, fruits, rice and pastas. Drink plenty of water to help thin out the mucus in the lungs.
Take Care of Your Mental Health
Keeping a positive attitude is a must in any chronic disease. There are hundreds of studies linking higher stress with lowered immune system. This is why it’s essential to manage the stress about the illness and taking care of your mental health. Hospital stays are directly linked to anxiety and depression. In case you are worried about your mental health, talk to your healthcare provider about starting therapy and medication if need be.
Rely on Your Support Group
Relying on your family and friends in times of need makes you recover faster. Research shows that lonely people are more likely to be hospitalized for an exacerbation. This is why, if you have time, reach out to your friends and family and spend quality time with them. If your health permits, schedule a phone or video call with one of your loved ones daily. Stay connected to stay healthy.
Be Physically Active
Even a short walk, every day, is important in managing COPD. It can make a big difference in the quality of life and management of symptoms. Working out increases the efficiency of oxygen utilization of the body, but make sure you don’t overdo yourself and your lungs don’t have to work too hard. Ask your healthcare provider which exercises are suitable for you.
Supervised rehabilitative techniques, as suggested by your specialist like Best Pulmonologist in Karachi include pulmonary hygiene, breathing exercises and workout routine. The idea of this rehab is to maintain the pulmonary conditioning and optimizing lung function to prevent a decline in the respiratory ability.