How to manage COPD

The term chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) refers to a group of progressive lung diseases that leave you short of breath and tired because you cannot breathe fully. It is incurable.

COPD is the type of disease that comes up from time to time. The two most common types of COPD are emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

The exchange… your lungs contain about 600 million bags of air. When you inhale, oxygen from the incoming air is exchanged for carbon dioxide from your blood through tiny capillaries attached to these air pockets. This exchange is vital to your health and physical functioning.

When you have emphysema the number of air sacs in your lungs is reduced or deformed or blocked. The result is that your lungs cannot properly process the exchange of oxygen for carbon dioxide. This reduced ability compromises your ability to breathe effectively.

When you have bronchitis the airways in your lung swell or become thicker than normal, causing them to become blocked or obstructed. This makes it difficult to exhale and causes a chronic (i.e. long-term) cough.

What Causes COPD?

The simple answer to this question is chronic inflammation.

There are two types of inflammation … acute and chronic.

Acute inflammation refers to a short-term immune response to a sudden injury. For example, if you cut your finger, the cut will likely be red and swollen the next day. This indicates that your immune system has released chemicals to fight foreign invaders (which may have been introduced into your body from the cut) and are doing their job of fighting infection. As long as you are healthy enough, your finger should heal after a few days.

Chronic inflamation It occurs when the inflammatory response is not quenched. If your immune system keeps pumping out inflammatory chemicals. In other words, inflammation occurs when it is not needed. Obviously, it is detrimental to your health.

It is becoming increasingly clear that chronic inflammation is the root cause of many chronic diseases such as COPD.

Chronic inflammation is also at the root of type 2 diabetes.

Link between COPD and diabetes

Although they have the same root, the link between COPD and diabetes is not clear. There is no hard research data to show that people with COPD are at increased risk of developing diabetes or vice versa.

However, studies show that about 15% of COPD patients admitted to the hospital also have diabetes. In the population as a whole, the prevalence of diabetes is just under 10%.

A search of the literature published in Cardiovascular diabetes considered COPD as a risk factor for the development of diabetes and vice versa. The researchers concluded that there was a bidirectional risk between the two diseases.

It appears that COPD increases the incidence of diabetes for several reasons. COPD, for example, causes you to gain weight (as you are less active) and therefore increases your insulin resistance.

On the other hand, diabetes seems to increase the occurrence of lung infections and worsen COPD by causing an increase in flare-ups.

Further research indicates that high blood glucose is related to impaired lung function. A study in Chest showed that diabetes was related to a reduced ability to force air out of the lungs. This association worsened with smoking.

It seems highly likely that damage to the nervous system caused by diabetes (diabetic neuropathy) may weaken the respiratory muscles and make breathing shallower and less effective … although this link between diabetes and COPD has not been established with no degree of certainty.

How to fight COPD

There is no cure for COPD.

However, there are many things you can do to slow the progression of the disease. Many of these are the same things you need to do to control your diabetes.

  • Give up smoking
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid polluted air
  • Use breathing exercises to train your lungs

Give up smoking… it’s a no-brainer if you have COPD. Smoking damages your lungs (probably the main cause of why you have COPD) and you desperately need to avoid further damage to your lungs if you want to slow the progress of the disease.

Quitting takes a bit of willpower, but if you’re determined enough, you can. In addition, there are several smoking cessation aids available, such as patches and lozenges, if you have difficulty quitting.

Eat a healthy diet… means eating a low-sugar, low-fat, low-carb, low-salt, low-GI, high-fiber diet centered on plants, such as Overcome diabetes diet and drink plenty of water. This type of diet will help you lose excess weight, one of the consequences of COPD, thus facilitating the development of your daily routines and giving you more energy to walk, etc.

Exercising… it’s not something you can’t do just because you have COPD. In fact, the best way to maintain lung function is to do some type of exercise regularly. Doing a little gardening or taking a leisurely walk a few days a week is a great way to start.

Try walking, swimming, biking, or yoga. But be careful not to exercise so hard that your lungs can’t keep up, as this could lead to a flare-up of your symptoms.

Yoga is particularly good for COPD sufferers because it focuses on controlled breathing. In fact, yogic breathing contains some of the breathing exercises that are performed during respiratory therapy.

Avoiding contamination… is another no-brainer if you have COPD. Lungs weakened by COPD are especially vulnerable to air pollution. Therefore, heed air quality warnings and avoid situations where air quality is likely to be low, such as dust, chemical fumes, open fires, etc.

Respiratory therapy

One of the best things you can do for your COPD and to improve your overall health is to do regular breathing exercises.

Breathing exercises will improve your respiratory function, slowing down the progression of COPD. In addition, breathing exercises will provide a better quality of life.

Here are three of these exercises:

  • Pursed-lip breathing
  • Belly breathing
  • Pulmonary muscle training

Puckered lips breathing… is a breathing exercise in which you inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth while pursing your lips. You should exhale at half the speed or less than you inhale, that is, if it takes 4 seconds to inhale, take at least 8 seconds to exhale through pursed lips.

This breathing trick keeps the air waves open longer, reduces work of breathing, and improves the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.

Belly breathing… is particularly helpful in reducing shortness of breath when exercising or doing strenuous activities like climbing stairs or lifting heavy objects. He does this by exercising his respiratory muscles.

Lie down and put one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. The hand on your belly should go down when you exhale and rise when you inhale.

Pulmonary muscle training… use of a respiratory muscle training device was found to provide significant increases in strength and endurance. The research was carried out in 2007 at the University of Modena in Italy.

TO respiratory muscle training (RMT) is a tube that is placed on the lips and breathed in. The device partially blocks the flow of air, making it difficult to breathe in and out. The airflow restriction can be varied by moving a dial. Also, you can remove the restriction entirely if you want the inhalation that some therapists recommend.

Athletes use RTMs to increase endurance and improve lung function during cardiovascular exercise. This writer, who has a mild form of COPD, has found that wearing an RTM is a great way to strengthen your respiratory muscles and prevent the progression of your COPD.

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