How to Make Breathing Easier

Getting the Most From Each Breath

If your doctor has told you that you have severe COPD, there are some things that you can do to get the most out of each breath. Make your life as easy as possible at home by:
 
  • Asking your friends and family for help.
  • Doing things slowly.
  • Doing things sitting down as much as possible.
  • Putting items you need often in one place that is easy to reach.
  • Finding simple ways to cook, clean, and do other chores. Some people use a small table or cart with wheels to move things around. Using a pole or tongs with long handles can help you reach things.
  • Keeping your clothes loose.
  • Wearing clothes and shoes that are easy to put on and take off.
  • Asking for help moving your things around in your house so that you will not need to climb stairs as often.
  • Picking a place to sit regularly where you can visit with others.
     
If you are finding that it is becoming more difficult to catch your breath, your coughing has gotten worse, you are coughing up more mucus, or you have signs of infection (such as a fever and feeling poorly), you need to call your doctor right away. Your doctor may do a spirometry test, blood work, and a chest x-ray.
 
Your doctor may also:
 
  • Order antibiotics, which are medications that help fight off infection
  • Change the type and dosage of the bronchodilator and glucocorticosteroid medications you have been taking
  • Order oxygen or increase the amount of oxygen you are currently using.
     
It is helpful to have certain information on hand in case you need to go to the hospital or doctor right away. You should plan now to make sure you have:
 
  • Phone numbers for the doctor and hospital, as well as people who can take you to the hospital or doctor
  • Directions to the hospital and doctor's office
  • A list of the medications you are taking.
     

Information on COPD

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