People with COPD may have some limitations, but that doesn’t mean they can’t live full, healthy lives. Join COPD patients and experts to learn about important lifestyle changes that improve COPD.
Kathy: When I was first diagnosed with COPD, I was petrified. All the things I used to be able to do, I can't do anymore. But I have limitations and I learned to work within those limitations.
Dr. Parikh: Hi, I'm Dr. Parikh, let's talk about diet and lifestyle changes, such as breathing techniques that can help with COPD.
Robert: I went through a week of pulmonary rehab. They taught me how to walk, they taught me how to take the stairs, exercises to make sure that I use my lungs to full capacity.
Robert: First and foremost is breathing. You breathe in through your nose, and out through your mouth, and you're supposed to breathe out twice as long as you breathe in.
Edward: Do you do this on a daily basis every day now?
Robert: I do this anytime I get short of breath.
Kathy: There are so many people that have COPD or asthma, or both, unfortunately, in my case. I noticed the days that I don't have enough protein, that my asthma bothers me.
Dr. Shahzad: In general, we see the carbohydrate is going to produce more carbon dioxide, so I do tell my patients have more protein, like fish, eggs.
Edward: To avoid some of the carbohydrates, I discovered zucchini noodles, that helps a lot, because you're cutting out a lot of carbs.
Dr. Shahzad: Have small, frequent meals.
Kathy: I agree 100% with you on this, because if you feel as though you're stuffing yourself, afterwards you're sitting there gasping for air. The weight issue plays a big difference.
Kathy: When a doctor said to me, you need to exercise, it was like whoop, taboo word. I don't want to hear it. Then I realized it doesn't mean that I have to go to a gym, when it's summer time and I can't breathe, I'll go into the store and take a carriage, and walk the perimeter of the store, because it's air conditioned.
Robert: The shopping malls also are very good in the winter, when you're afraid to walk on the sidewalks because they're all icy.
Dr. Shahzad: Another thing which will help you--you should take your medications regularly.
Robert: Fortunately, I have a partner who takes care of setting up all my meds.
Dr. Parikh: Very important.
Robert: I have all my medications on my iPhone, and that's perfect, because you go, this is what I'm taking.
Kathy: When I was first diagnosed with COPD, I thought, "Oh no, now what? My life's done, this is it." But it was a lifestyle change. I realized, I can't do what I used to do. But there are some things I still can do.
Edward: I also faced the fact, the realization, that as I get older, this is not going to get any better, but you can control it.
Dr. Parikh: And you have experts available to help you with these decisions. When you incorporate diet, lifestyle changes, medication management, it's really important to engage your family members, your doctors, to make sure you're doing things that's best for you.
Medical Reviewers:William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Review Date:04-06-2018