8 Ways to Manage Life With COPD

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by Wendy Henderson |

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Living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can be challenging, but there are ways to manage the disease to improve quality of life and ease symptoms of the condition. We’ve put together a list of eight ways to look after yourself when you have COPD using information from nhs.uk.

Take Your Medication

Take your medication as directed. Don’t skip medications, even if you feel well. If you notice any change in your symptoms, speak to your doctor who may be able to change your medications. Always consult your doctor before taking any vitamins, supplements or over-the-counter medications as they could interfere with your prescriptions.

Quit Smoking

The longer you smoke, the more damage you’ll do to your lungs, which will make COPD symptoms worse. Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do to help avoid exacerbations and to slow down the progression of the disease. If you struggle to quit smoking, speak to your doctor about practical help.


Exercise done on a regular basis can help to ease the symptoms of your COPD and improve your overall health. Start out with gentle exercise that makes you a little breathless and build up slowly. Walking, swimming, cycling, and yoga are all great forms of exercise for people with COPD.

Your healthcare will probably involve pulmonary rehabilitation which will include supervised exercise.

Find out more about these COPD myths and facts.


Maintain a Healthy Weight

If you’re overweight or underweight, you will need to adjust your caloric intake to help you reach a healthy weight. Exercise will help those who need to lose weight by burning fat, and those who need to gain weight by increasing muscle mass.  For those who are underweight, extra calories need to come in the form of healthy foods not processed foods high in sugar, salt, and saturated fats.

Avoid Infections

Ensure you have yearly flu vaccinations and speak to your doctor to see if you should also get a pneumonia vaccination. Try to avoid spending time with people who have coughs, colds or the flu, and wash your hands regularly to avoid picking up germs.

Find out what you need to know about COPD.


Watch What You Inhale

There are pollutants all around that can bring about flares and exacerbations of your condition. Where possible, try to avoid heavy traffic pollution, chemical fumes, strong smelling cleaning products, secondhand cigarette smoke, industrial pollution, dust, perfume, air fresheners, hairsprays and anything else that’s likely to make you cough.


Check the Weather

Both cold and humidity can cause COPD flares, so it’s prudent in high summer and winter to carry inhalers with you in case the weather begins to affect your breathing.  Make sure you’re wrapped up warm when it’s cold and take a sweater with you in case the temperature dips while you’re out.

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COPD News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.