Can Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Lung Disease (COPD) Be Treated?

It’s World COPD Day today! A great opportunity to talk about Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and how to identify it and treat it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that millions of people are affected by COPD around the world, and the crazy part is, most people have no idea what they are dealing with.

The fact that people are being affected by COPD without even knowing makes the disease more dangerous than ever. That’s why we’ve put together this article with basic information on COPD and how it may affect you or a loved one.

What Is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease?

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD is a term developed to describe a selection of chronic and progressive lung diseases. The true COPD definition includes multiple diagnoses. You may have heard of emphysema, chronic bronchitis, or chronic / non-reversible asthma, these lung diseases fall under the COPD umbrella.

A person suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease will find it difficult to breathe and notice the condition worsening over time. Many people mistake the signs of COPD as a side effect of getting older.

It’s important to keep in mind that there are different types of COPD. Different types require different treatments such as exercises for copd rehabilitation, and understanding which type is in question will help the process of COPD management.

People with multiple health conditions, like heart disease, depression, high blood pressure, or diabetes may require specific methods of COPD management.

old man with copd symptoms

Symptoms Of COPD

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease affects one’s ability to breathe, it causes shortness of breath and issues with the lungs. If you’ve noticed a continuous cough or shortness of breath after minimal activity, you may want to talk to your doctor about COPD.

Here are a few things to ask yourself when identifying symptoms of COPD:

  • Do you have an increasingly progressive cough? Does your cough come with heavy mucus often?
  • Do you feel discomfort or stretching in your lungs?
  • Are you unable to exercise or perform basic physical activities without losing your breath?
  • Are you frequently affected by respiratory infections?
  • Do you experience frequent wheezing or chest tightness?

If you answered yes to these questions, you may want to consult a physician about testing for COPD. Doctors use a spirometric testing system for COPD diagnosis, it is a simple breathing test that is non-invasive and short in time.

As the disease progresses, additional symptoms of COPD may include frequent colds and cases of the flu, as well as lack of energy, fatigue, and swelling in the feet and legs. In some cases, extreme weight loss is a symptom as well.

Seek immediate medical care if you noticed discolored lips and fingernails with blue or gray tones, this is a sign of extremely low oxygen levels in the body. If you find yourself having trouble breathing to the point that you cannot speak, seek help immediately, and talk to a doctor if you have recurring instances of feeling confused or faint.

woman with copd coughing

COPD Treatment

Like many progressive diseases, COPD is an incurable disease. Early diagnosis and treatment can help patients manage their COPD, breathe easier daily, and live a normal and happy life.

Although COPD is incurable, living a healthy lifestyle and making the right choices can minimise progress and symptoms.

Smokers with COPD are encouraged to quit smoking. Quitting smoking will not cure COPD but it will slow the progression and greatly minimise symptoms. Over 80% of cases of COPD are caused by smoking. Quitting smoking can help the body react better to treatments. Quitting can also prevent additional lung damage and damage to other parts of the body.

Irritants are another huge cause of COPD. People diagnosed with COPD should avoid environmental contaminants and irritants that could cause further damage to the lungs. Factors like air pollution and second-hand smoke can be very dangerous for those affected by COPD. The risks of environmental irritants are even stronger for those who suffer from allergies or other ailments in addition to COPD.

Exercise Improves Symptoms Of COPD

COPD is incurable, so improving your exercise routine will not eliminate the disease, but it will likely improve the symptoms.

Of course, COPD makes it hard to breathe, which makes it even harder to exercise, but by challenging the body with exercise, the lungs and the heart can become more tolerant of physical activity. Exercise is the key to strengthening the lungs and the heart and maintaining a healthy lifestyle as a person diagnosed with COPD. See a variety of other exercise benefits in our past posts.

Centers like Live Well Rehab in Brisbane specialise in providing effective exercise treatment for people suffering from COPD and other ailments. Consulting with a physiologist helps patients improve their symptoms and live their best lives. Live Well Rehab’s physiologists are fully equipped with the skills to treat patients of COPD, their specialised exercise treatment plans are created with the special needs of the client in mind. The facility offers a wide variety of services including cardiac exercise treatments, pulmonary rehabilitation and exercise rehabilitation.

people doing cardio workout for copd treatment

People treating COPD with exercise gradually work their way into the process. It’s recommended starting slow and slowly increase the process with guidance from a professional.

We recommend including the following in your exercise routine:

  • Warmup and stretching – Very important to help ease your way into the workout
  • Cardio, cardio, cardio! – Challenge yourself with low and high-intensity cardio that works the lungs and the heart.
  • Lift those weights – Strength training is highly recommended for a successful workout.

People who are diagnosed with COPD should consider dedicating themselves to a solid workout routine. The benefits are endless. Exercising to manage COPD reduces the risk of additional cardiovascular diseases and is beneficial to holistic health. A consistent workout regimen reduces the risk of diabetes, cancer, obesity, and metabolic syndrome. It will also help to maintain stronger bones and strengthen mental health.

Exercise and diet go hand in hand. Eating well can help to boost the immune system and reduce symptoms of COPD. Reducing the number of carbohydrates and sugar in the diet, and consuming approximately 30 grams of fiber a day is recommended for people who are managing COPD.

Take care of your COPD before it becomes a major problem. Contact Live Well Rehab for a customized exercise program that will help you breathe easy and live your best life.

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