If you have COPD chances are good that your doctor has prescribed various medications and programs to help you cope. But there are simple lifestyle improvements you can make to battle back against the disease.
Ventilate your indoor spaces
High levels of indoor air pollution caused by smoking, indoor fires, and indoor toxins can significantly exacerbate COPD symptoms, say researchers from Aberdeen, Scotland. The scientists measured concentrations of indoor air pollutants in the homes of 148 people with COPD. They found that indoor air pollution levels were up to four times the levels that experts say is acceptable. The higher the levels of indoor air pollution, the worse the individual’s COPD. As expected, the highest pollution levels were found in homes in which someone smoked.
Get at least 20 minutes a day of moderately intense exercise
It could be riding a stationary bicycle, briskly walking, or swimming. Not only will this improve your breathing capabilities but, chances are, you’ll fell sharper mentally afterward. That’s what researchers from Ohio State University found when they evaluated the effects of just one session of exercise on 58 adults, half with COPD and half healthy. The COPD group was able to process and retain information better than before they exercised, while the healthy subjects didn’t show any improvement. The improvements in the COPD group was probably due to the fact that the exercise increased their lung capacity- sending more oxygen to their brains. The healthy group already had good lung capacity; a 20 minute exercise session wasn’t going to affect that much for them. A follow up study in which participants were tracked for a year found that those who continued exercising maintained their cognitive gains, while those who didn’t lost physical, cognitive, and psychological functioning.
Pop some Fish oil
Two grams a day should do it. Take half in the morning and half in the evening. When Japanese researchers had 64 people with COPD supplement their diets with about 400 calories a day of an omega-3 rich supplement or one without omega-3 fatty acids for two years, they found numerous indicators of improved lung function in the omega-3 group, with no change in the placebo group. They also found much lower levels of inflammatory chemicals called cytokines in the omega-3 group. Omega-3 fatty acids are potent anti-inflammatories; their ability to quell the inflammation of COPD likely prevented further lung damage during the study.
Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight puts more pressure on your heart and lungs, increasing breathlessness. It also makes it harder to exercise. But being underweight – a common problem as COPD progresses and eating a full meal becomes more difficult – is linked to an increased risk of death. You should aim for a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or 26. If you’re having trouble maintaining your weight:
With increased awareness you have the ability to prevent COPD, so make sure you also read my previous blog for the best ways to prevent COPD.
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