Anyone trying to determine just how seriously smoking can impact your life needs look no further than COPD and its devastating effects. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a long-term lung disease often caused by smoking. It includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema, and many people with COPD have both diseases. Imagine trying to breathe when your airways are swollen and blocked by mucus, and the tiny air sacs at the tip of your airways are damaged. With COPD, you are always short of breath and frequently wheezing and coughing, and your cough often produces phlegm. Breathing is also difficult for everyone with COPD, though patient breathing abilities vary greatly and some need oxygen just to walk across the room. To improve breathing, people with COPD are encouraged to stop smoking, they also often participate in pulmonary rehabilitation, and exercise is recommended to whatever extent possible.
Here’s a list of ten things you can do to help offset the effects of COPD…
1. No More Smoking
Sure it’s possible to contract COPD through long-term exposure to environmental pollutants, but smoking is the primary cause of COPD. Once you have it your lungs are already damaged, so the key becomes reducing future harm. According to one expert, sufferers should stop smoking immediately when they become short-winded. Neil MacIntyre, MD, a pulmonologist and professor of medicine at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, stresses this to his patients. He adds that “if you want to get out of a hole, the first thing you must do is stop digging”.