What can I do to manage my COPD?

Make some healthy lifestyle changes that can help manage your COPD symptoms.

Quit smoking
The most important thing you can do to help keep your COPD from getting worse is quit smoking. Ask your doctor for resources that can help.

Practice breathing exercises for COPD
Breathing exercises can be an important part of your COPD treatment plan. See two simple exercises you can do right now.

Eat healthy
A healthy diet can help you manage your COPD. If you’re overweight, losing weight can make it easier to breathe. Talk to your doctor before starting any nutrition program.

Carry your rescue inhaler
Keep your rescue medication with you for sudden COPD symptoms. If you don’t have a rescue inhaler, ask your doctor to prescribe one. Also, avoid the COPD triggers you know about (like dust or smoke), and stay inside when outdoor air quality is poor.

Stay active
Get moving! Getting active now is essential if you want to stay active in the long-term. Consult with your doctor before adding exercises, which may help improve your overall strength, including in the muscles you use to breathe.

Keep it simple
COPD can make you tired sometimes. So give yourself some extra time to do things. Make your chores a little easier: keep the things you use often in easy reach, and choose clothing that’s easy to put on and take off.

Go to Helpful Resources for links to COPD foundations and advocacy organizations that may help you live better with COPD.

COPD Breathing Exercises

Pursed lip breathing:

  1. Breathe in through your nose, counting.
  2. Breathe out through pursed lips, and try to exhale for twice as long.

Belly breathing:

  1. Relax your head and neck, and breathe in through your nose as you count.
  2. Try to feel your belly rising and falling.
  3. Breathe out through your mouth, trying to make it last two to three times as long as your inhale.
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