While there is currently no cure for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), being informed on how to self-manage, and having a written action plan in place, can help reduce the impact COPD has on your everyday life.
Whether you are newly diagnosed or have been living with COPD for many years, Lung Foundation Australia’s handy resource, the My COPD Checklist, can assist you to implement simple practices to ensure you are best managing your condition.
This checklist covers essential areas such as medication management, inhaler device techniques and exercise. If you are unable to answer yes to all the questions on the checklist, you should make an appointment with your healthcare professional to discuss your self-management.
Understanding your medications
Lung Foundation Australia Respiratory Care Nurse, Amanda, says that when speaking to patients, it is common for people to be unsure about exactly what their inhaler medication does.
“If prescribed, using your reliever and maintenance medications can assist in managing symptoms of breathlessness. It is important that you understand the role of each of your medications, and that your medication devices are used exactly as prescribed, to ensure their effectiveness.”
If you are unsure about any of your prescribed medications, ask your doctor, nurse or pharmacist to explain.
Exercise and nutrition
People living with a chronic lung condition such as COPD typically require up to 50% more energy due to the increased work of breathing, and to fight chest infections and flare-ups. Where possible, try to follow a healthy and nutritious diet, stay well hydrated, move your body each day and get rest and quality sleep. Exercising with a lung condition can feel overwhelming, but it’s crucial for managing your condition, and with the right support you can include regular exercise and feel better for it.
It is natural to feel anxious or frightened if you are experiencing shortness of breath, whether it be at rest, when performing everyday tasks or exercising. Talk to your doctor about referral to a pulmonary rehabilitation program or, if you’ve completed pulmonary rehabilitation, referral to Lungs in Action. These programs are designed to help you increase your physical function, reduce symptoms such as breathlessness and improve the management of your condition. You can also talk to a physiotherapist or exercise physiologist about a prescribed individual exercise program if you’ve got medical clearance from your doctor.
Download your free copy of the My COPD Checklist via the link below. Lung Foundation Australia offers an extensive suite of resources to help you manage your condition, including inhaler device technique videos, fact sheet and webinars.