Health and emotional wellbeing

It can be overwhelming when you are diagnosed with a chronic lung disease.

You may feel that life is now different – the world has somehow changed – and you may experience feelings of isolation and distress. You should know that it’s not uncommon for people with lung disease to suffer from these feelings, but the good news is, with support, you can get the help you need to regain the best quality of life available to you. There are many others going through the same thing, and there is help out there, so first and foremost remember: you are not alone.

Anxiety and depression – symptoms and support

The feelings of isolation, distress and fear can often turn into depression and anxiety. Some of the main symptoms of depression include low mood, loss of interest in daily activities, fatigue or low energy levels. The main symptoms of anxiety are fear, restlessness, sleep disturbances and reduced concentration and memory. If you recognise these symptoms, the first step is early diagnosis by your health professional.

There are many things that can assist you in getting your life back on track.  There is evidence that supports the effectiveness of medication, cognitive behavioural therapy, exercise programs and relaxation therapy. You may not need all these therapies – your healthcare provider will help you determine which therapies will best suit you. Take the first step to emotional wellbeing and recovery and speak to your healthcare provider to get you started on the right track.

Exercise

One of the most important interventions people with a chronic lung condition can do to manage depression and anxiety is exercise. The idea of exercising may sound daunting, but evidence is emerging showing the effectiveness of exercise in people with different lung conditions, including bronchiectasis, Interstitial Lung Disease and lung cancer. It can help you understand more about your lung condition, manage your breathlessness and help you with your confidence.

Your healthcare professional will either refer you to a physiotherapist or similar to discuss an exercise plan suited to you. Read more about lung disease and exercise, here.

Healthy Eating

A healthy diet plays an important role in better well being. For people with a chronic lung condition, it’s important to think about how your diet can assist you in managing your symptoms.  A good diet means eating a variety of food from each of the five food groups every day, in the right amount. For people with respiratory disease, there are studies to support a diet high in fruit and vegetables, and avoidance of highly processed and takeaway foods.