COPD, or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, is an incurable disease that affects the lungs and other parts of our body. The main cause of COPD is cigarette smoke, as well as work-related exposure to inhaled substances. People suffering from COPD have difficulty breathing, primarily due to the fact that their lungs have lost elasticity, which makes inhaling and exhaling very difficult. In addition, increased mucus in the lungs and the body’s decreased ability to transfer oxygen into our blood combine to make it the third leading cause of death in our country.
If you know someone with COPD, here are some suggestions for ways to ease their burden, directly from Deborah Leader, RN at About.com Guide:
- Help Them Quit Smoking. And if you smoke, don’t smoke inside the house or anywhere near someone with COPD.
- Avoid Wearing Heavily-Scented Beauty Products. Perfumes, hairsprays, body lotions with heavy scents can irritate their already inflamed lungs.
- Know What To Do During Breathing Emergencies. Exacerbation of COPD is usually accompanied by difficulty breathing. Here are guidelines for when to call the doctor.
- Encourage Regular Exercise. Exercise helps people with COPD to feel stronger – start slowly and work your way up to longer periods.
- Prepare Healthy Meals and Snacks. To help boost energy and ease breathing, diets rich in fruits and vegetables will help. Here are guidelines for a healthy COPD diet.
- Promote Energy Conservation. Because people with COPD are literally drained of their energy, limiting energy use by staying on one floor, or keeping certain items within reach, will help.
- Allow the Running of the Fan or Air Conditioner. Many people with COPD find that air blowing directly on them makes their breathing easier.
- Use Non-Toxic Cleaning Products. Harsh fumes can aggravate symptoms. Be sure there is enough ventilation when cleaning.
- Improve Your Indoor Air. Air purifiers with HEPA filters can help immensely, as well as getting rid of other chemicals often found in homes. Here are some helpful guidelines for improving indoor air quality.
- Help Spread COPD Awareness. Learn more about the disease, treatment and prevention here.