Nutrition: Eat Well, Breathe Better
What you eat, and how much, can affect how well you breathe. For example, having a really full stomach can make it feel harder to breathe. To keep from feeling stuffed, try having four to six small meals a day instead of three large meals. In general, eat a nutritious, balanced diet, and be physically active to help your body stay strong.
Oxygen Therapy and COPD
Your lungs are vital for getting the oxygen you need, but COPD reduces lung function. In severe cases, your doctor may prescribe supplemental oxygen. In addition to helping you with normal body functions, it can help increase your stamina and improve your sleep
Lung Surgery for COPD
In rare cases of severe COPD that doesn’t improve with medication, your doctor may suggest lung surgery. While not right for everyone, a procedure like lung volume reduction surgery can improve lung capacity and your ability to breathe. With this surgery, 20%-30% of the most diseased lung tissue is removed, leaving the healthiest part of the lung to perform better. Lung transplant surgery is another option in other severe cases.
Pulmonary rehabilitation uses exercise, disease management, nutrition, and psychosocial counseling to help you feel better and stay active. You’ll learn techniques for staying fit and managing shortness of breath, so you can improve your quality of life, decrease the amount of time you spend in the hospital, and improve your ability to exercise.
Reach Out for Support
Having COPD can leave you feeling sad, frustrated, and depressed — all of which can make it hard to manage your symptoms. If you’re having problems living with COPD, you’re not alone. Reach out and get help from support groups, friends, family, or clergy. Also, the American Lung Association has Better Breathers Clubs across the country.