Managing Your COPD

Pulmonary Rehabilitation Care

Overview of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R)
PM and R is a medical specialty that works to restore function for a person who has been disabled as a result of a disease, disorder, or injury.
Pulmonary Rehabilitation
A pulmonary rehabilitation program is tailored to meet the needs of the individual patient and the specific lung problem or disease.
COPD: Understanding Pulmonary Rehabilitation
Rehab is based on a team approach and combines exercise, emotional support and education. You and your providers work together to create a treatment plan just for you.
Community Re-Entry
One of the main goals of rehabilitation is to prepare the patient for life after discharge.
Choosing a Rehabilitation Unit/CARF
Rehabilitation services are provided in many different places, including hospitals, long-term care facilities, and community health centers.
Effects of Rehabilitation on the Family
One of the most important factors in a patient's recovery is family involvement and support in his or her rehab.

Managing Symptoms

COPD: Take a Hand in Your Health
To manage your COPD, it’s important to talk with your provider when you have questions about your symptoms, treatment, medications, exercise, or diet.
COPD: When Symptoms Get Worse
Be aware of the early warning signs of change, such as more frequent symptoms or the onset of a new symptom.
Signs of Respiratory Distress
It's important to learn the symptoms of respiratory distress to know how to respond appropriately.
How COPD Affects the Lungs
Every breath can be a chore when you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Living With a Chronic Health Condition
Learning about your condition and doing your best to manage it can help you live a less fearful and more expansive life.
Antibiotics May Help COPD
Treatment guidelines now recommend that antibiotics be used to treat worsening COPD caused by a bacterial infection.
Your COPD Action Plan
Writing this document with your doctor can help you recognize a symptom flare-up—and take the right action to prevent serious problems.
COPD: Ease Anxiety About Shortness of Breath
When you have COPD, you will feel short of breath at times. The medical term for this is dyspnea. Here are some ways you can control your breathing and stay calm.

Managing Medications and Equipment

Share Your Medication Schedule
Keeping up with your daily medicines is a critical part of managing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
COPD: Medicines for Maintenance
Maintenance medicines work for an extended time after you take them.
Inhalers and Nebulizers
Inhalers deliver medication directly to the lungs with less side effects than medication taken by mouth or injection.
COPD: Oxygen Therapy Question
Home oxygen therapy can help improve the length and quality of life for a person with COPD.
COPD: Safe Oxygen Tips
If you use oxygen to help manage the symptoms of COPD, be sure to handle it with care.

Self-Care

Immunizations

COPD Tests Worksheet
Here is information to help you see how well you are managing your COPD.
Influenza (Flu)
How do you know if you have the flu? Symptoms: abrupt onset of fever, muscle aches, sore throat, and a nonproductive cough.
Pneumonia
Pneumonia is a serious inflammation of the lungs in which the air sacs fill with pus and other liquid.

Healthy Eating

COPD: Good Nutrition Is Important
Eat several small meals throughout the day rather than three big meals. Big meals fill up your stomach, which can press on your lungs and make breathing harder.
COPD: Managing Sodium and Potassium Intake
Two nutrients that are critical to keep in check when you have COPD are sodium and potassium. Here are tips on how to watch your intake of them.
COPD: The Benefits of Mini-Meals
Aim for five or six mini-meals rather than two or three large meals throughout the day.
COPD: Heartburn Is Common
It’s possible to take medications that control stomach acid to help relieve the symptoms of GERD.
COPD and Nutritional Needs
If you need help staying at an ideal weight or gaining weight, your doctor and nutritionist may suggest a liquid supplement.

Being Active

COPD: Boost Your Strength with Exercise
Check with your health care provider about the level of strength training that makes sense for you, and keep some ground rules in mind.
COPD: Finding the Hidden Joys of Exercise
Exercise can help reduce COPD problems, such as shortness of breath and limits on your activity level.
Overcoming Exercise Barriers With COPD
Here are some common reasons people don’t exercise. Are any of these true for you?

Smoking Cessation

Why Quit Smoking?
You know you should quit smoking. But you just haven't gotten around to it yet. Here are some reasons to help you commit to quitting.
COPD: A Quit-Smoking Plan
The first step is to choose a quit date and mark it on your calendar.

Emotional Support

Help for COPD and Depression
Having a chronic condition such as COPD can lead to depression. You can get help. Talk with your doctor about your symptoms.
COPD: Coping with Stress
Life can be full of stress sometimes, especially when you’re managing a health condition like COPD.
COPD: Tips for Easier Dressing
When you have COPD, even getting dressed can sometimes seem like a challenge.
If I Have COPD, Can I Drink?
A small amount of alcohol -- such as a single beer or glass of wine with dinner -- is fine for some people. On the other hand, drinking too much alcohol is harmful for anyone.
COPD: How Can I Get a Good Night’s Sleep?
It’s common for people with COPD to have trouble sleeping. The problem could be your sleep position or your medication.
COPD: End-of-Life Care
What kind of care would you want if you were no longer able to speak for yourself?

Preventing Complications

The Connection Between Heart Failure and COPD
If you have COPD, it may be difficult to tell whether you also have heart failure (HF). This is because the two diseases have similar symptoms and common risk factors.
Living with COPD and Asthma
If you have COPD and asthma, you know that they cause similar symptoms.
COPD and Summer Heat
Becoming overheated can put people with COPD at risk for serious illness. Stay cool this summer with these tips.
Traveling with Chronic Conditions
See your doctor as early as possible before you leave on your trip. Discuss any risks that may be involved and plan for immunizations, medication, and medical devices you may need while you're away.
COPD: Home from the Hospital
Here's what to do to help prevent another flare-up—and stay out of the hospital.