COPD is a name for a collection of lung diseases including chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive airways disease. It is a progressive disease that makes it hard to breathe. "Progressive" means the disease gets worse over time.
Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of COPD. Long-term exposure to other lung irritants such as air pollution, chemical fumes, or dust also may contribute to COPD. COPD can cause coughing that produces large amounts of mucus, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and other symptoms.
The air that you breathe goes down your windpipe into tubes in your lungs called bronchial tubes or airways. Healthy airways and air sacs in the lungs are elastic they try to bounce back to their original shape after being stretched or filled with air. This elastic quality helps retain the normal structure of the lung and helps to move the air quickly in and out.
In COPD, less air flows in and out of the airways because of one or more of the following:
The airways and air sacs lose their elastic quality.
The walls between many of the air sacs are destroyed.
The walls of the airways become thick and inflamed.
The airways make more mucus than usual, which can clog them.
Fig.1. Diagram of (A) COPD affected Lung (B) Spirometery
Quit Smoking - To help you quit, there are many online
resources and several new aids available from your doctor or health care
Try to stay away from things that could irritate your
lungs, like dust, strong fumes and cigarette smoke.
It is also a good idea to get a flu shot every year,
since the flu can cause serious problems for people with COPD.
Take Precautions Against the H1N1 Flu-People with COPD
may also be at increased risk to become seriously ill with the H1N1 flu
(formerly called swine flu).
Visit Your Doctor or Health Care Provider on a Regular
Basis to avoid complications and hospitalization.
COPD is a chronic life-long condition. Do not forget to
take medicines if your doctor has prescribed medicines to manage it.
Reduce stress - try to avoid things that cause you
You can also try pranayam and yoga under guidance to
improve lung function.
Constant coughing, sometimes called "smoker's
Shortness of breath while doing activities you used to
be able to do
Excess sputum production
Feeling like you can't breathe
Not being able to take a deep breath
When COPD is severe, shortness of
breath and other symptoms can get in the way of doing even the most basic
tasks, such as doing light housework, taking a walk, even bathing and getting
dressed.COPD develops slowly, and can worsen over time, so be sure to report
any symptoms you might have to your doctor or health care provider as soon as
possible, no matter how mild they may seem.
Symptoms of COPD can get worse all of a sudden. When
this happens, it is much harder to catch your breath. You might also have
chest tightness, more coughing or a change in your cough (becomes more
productive, more mucus is expelled), and a fever.
When symptoms get worse quickly, it could be a sign of
a lung infection. There could be other causes for symptoms getting worse,
such as heart disease related to severe lung damage. The best thing to do
is call your doctor right away so he or she can find out what the cause of
the problem is and take steps to treat it.
How to prevent the complications:
Adults at risk should have their lung function checked
Follow your health care provider's recommendations to modify, treat, or control possible causes of COPD
Take Precautions Against Seasonal Flu- In addition to
avoiding people with the flu, remembering to wash and sanitize your hands
can be one of the best ways to guard against getting sick.
See your doctor or health
care provider regularly even if you are feeling fine. Make a list of your
breathing symptoms and think about any activities that you can no longer
do because of shortness of breath. Be sure to bring a list of all the
medicines you are taking to each office visit.
Your doctor can help you decide if your job will affect your lung condition and if you need to make changes.
As you begin taking charge of your health and making positive changes, you might feel depressed and helpless. However, if negative feelings continue and interfere with your ability to enjoy life, talk to your doctor. Professional counseling might help you feel better.
Incorporate a daily routine to relax and rejuvenate - try to listen to soothing music, chant, read a book or meditate.
Rest and sleep
If you are not sleeping well, you will have less energy and fewer resources for coping with stress. Developing good sleep habits is very important.
Breathing techniques, Yoga can help, check out (it is in Hindi language) -
Taking group lessons in singing not only improves lung function but the activty and group effect helps to eleviate mood and reduce stress
Seek people with similar conditions to help you remain as active and independent as possible and provide emotional support.
Avoid crowds and protect against seasonal flus
Avoid crowds in seasons which you tend to catch infections. Keep your surroundings clean and free from irritants and allergens.
Take your flu shots as prescribed by the doctor.
Watch your weight in both
directions. Patients with chronic bronchitis may have a tendency to be obese,
while those with emphysema have a tendency to be underweight. People with COPD
use more energy while breathing than the average person. Therefore, the
pulmonary (breathing) muscles in someone with COPD might require up to 10 times
the calories needed by a person without COPD. It is important for you to
consume enough calories to produce energy in order to prevent wasting or
weakening of the diaphragm and other pulmonary muscles.
Immediate Diet Plan
A healthy diet includes a variety of
foods. Try to include these in your daily diet:
Low-fat protein foods such as lean cuts of meat,
poultry, and fish - particularly oily fish like salmon, mackerel, and
Whole grain foods such as whole grain bread, bran,
brown rice, and oats. These foods are also high in fiber, which helps
improve the function of the digestive system.
Fresh fruits and vegetables. They contain essential
vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which will help to keep your body healthy
and fight infections.
Foods containing high levels of potassium, including
bananas, oranges, tomatoes, asparagus, and potatoes.
Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. Adequate
hydration keeps mucus thin and makes it easier to cough up.
Certain foods can cause problems
such as gas and bloating, contain too much fat, or are low in nutritional
Foods to avoid include: Salt, Fried foods, and caffeine
Too much salt causes water
retention, which may affect your ability to breathe.
Be sure to check the
labels of the foods you buy and avoid any containing more than 300g of sodium
Sample Diet Plan (patient with COPD)
Choose foods which are healthy at
the same time high on calories because COPD causes a person to tire more easily
consequently require more energy.
Do not add SALT while cooking or as seasoning.
- 1 Cup (250ml) lukewarm water with 1 Tbsp. lemon juice and 1/2 tsp. honey
- 5 Almonds/other dry fruits
- 1 Ragi Dosa (Recipe) OR 1 Moong Dal Dosa (Recipe) OR Oats
- forteified full cream Milk (1 cup)
- 1 medium Apple OR 1 medium Banana
Early Morning Snack
- 1/2 Cup boiled Sweet potatoes, sprinkled with lemon juice OR Brown rice Poha OR Toast with cream cheese
- 1 Cup Coconut water with Malai
- 2 dried Figs and 1 whole Walnut OR Biscuits
- 1 large bowl of Salad (carrots, cucumbers, beets, tomatoes and onions)
(Dressing - mix Olive oil or cream, lemon juice and pepper)
- 2 Multigrain phulka OR Jowari Roti
- 1 Cup Palak/Plain Dal OR 1 Cup Rajma
- 1 Cup full fat yogurt
Mid Afternoon Snack
- 2 Biscuits/ 1 Muffin
- 1 glass of Milk Shake/ Fruit smoothie
Early Dinner Snack
- 1/2 Cup Mixed sprouts OR Chole salad (Recipe)
- 1 Cup Soup, preferably with cream
- 1/2 Cup Brown rice with 1 Cup Mixed vegetable sambar OR 1 Cup Brown rice Khichadi with 1 small bowl of Raita made with full fat yoghurt
- 1 Cup Cauliflower curry OR Bottle gourd (Lauki) curry
- 1 Whole grain bread
- 1 Portion of Sweet
Late Night Snack
- 1/2Cup Whole milk infused with Saffron
Life Long Instructions
Quit smoking and cut down on alcohol.
Limiting sugar, caffeine, and alcohol can promote health and reduce stress.
Pulmonary rehabilitation Pulmonary rehabilitation can help you learn how to breathe more easily and improve your quality of life. It includes breathing re-training, exercise training, education, and counseling. Your health care provider can help you find a program that matches your level of fitness and physical condition.
Always breathe slowly to save your breath. Inhale through your nose, keeping your mouth closed. Exhale through pursed lips. Include the following in your exercise routine-
Stretching: It helps prepare the muscles for activity and helps prevent injury and muscle strain. Regular stretching also increases your range of motion and flexibility.
Cardiovascular or aerobic: This type of exercise strengthens the heart and lungs, and improves the body's ability to use oxygen. Aerobic exercises include walking, jogging, jumping rope, bicycling (stationary or outdoor), cross-country skiing, skating, rowing, and low-impact aerobics or water aerobics.
Strengthening: Strengthening exercises for the upper body are especially, as they help increase the strength of your respiratory muscles.