Nobody knows it better than a person living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that life can be pretty exhausting. From taking out the trash in the morning to going grocery shopping, routine activities can suck out all the energy in your body, leaving you with nothing to enjoy time with friends or family members.
Fatigue is an unfortunate consequence of COPD, mainly because the body is working way harder than the body of a healthy person. A lot of the calories you consume go into breathing through your respiratory muscles.
Though COPD fatigue is extremely common, there are a couple of things you can do to ensure you feel better than what you might be experiencing right now. From adopting pulmonary rehabilitation exercises to fixing your sleep schedule, we will discuss a couple of strategies that can help boost your energy while managing COPD.
Making Sure You’re Getting Enough Food Into Your System
Many patients suffering from COPD are reported to be underweight because even eating can be an exhausting activity. Because of this reason, it is crucial for people to book an appointment with a nutritionist to optimize their diet.
Your diet needs to include proteins and healthy fats. Proteins are particularly essential because they’re the building blocks of the body, so they’ll play a critical role in building the muscles back that were lost because of the disease.
One thing that you should have in mind is you need to eat, even if it makes you tired. However, that doesn’t mean gulping down everything at once. You can take breaks, but make sure you eat.
Loading Up on Carbs May Not Be a Great Idea
Eating a lot of carbs in one go could be the reason why you feel more tired. People who have COPD find it difficult to remove carbon dioxide from the body. As meals high in carbs generate more carbon dioxide, it won’t really be working in your favor. Hence, if you do not want to feel breathless after eating, stay away from those high-carb meals.
Joining a Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program
Pulmonary rehabilitation for COPD typically combines education and exercise to provide you with the tools necessary for managing COPD. The exercises include strength training, cardiovascular training, and flexibility training – all meant to enhance your lung function, reduce the severity of symptoms, and increase the quality of your life.
Pulmonary rehabilitation could also be useful in providing social support to patients, especially because they get to spend time in an environment working on their physical ability with peers who are undergoing similar issues.
Pulmonary rehabilitation programs could be an asset to you because they will help you find ways to generate and conserve energy at the same time. Apart from the exercises, experts encourage patients to make small changes in their lifestyle that can make a huge difference. Some even work on reducing anxiety, which could be helpful in preventing exacerbations.
Saying No to Smoking
If you have COPD and you smoke, the only right thing, and probably the most important thing, to do is to quit it. If COPD symptoms are just starting to show, quitting smoking could even prevent you from developing severe COPD.
According to COPD Foundation, not only will it slow the progression of COPD, but it will also help preserve some of your lung function. The healthier your lungs are, the less energy they will use while breathing. If you think it’s difficult for you, know that there are several options available that can be useful in getting rid of your smoking habit, including patches, gums, and prescription medications.
Getting the Right Amount of Rest
You need to get enough time to rest, and it requires having a proper plan and routine for the day. Apart from the sleep you get at night, you must give yourself several rest periods during the day. Many people who suffer from COPD leave sometime in the afternoon for a siesta or nap.
However, it is essential to note that sleeping for too long during the day could make you groggy, impacting your sleep quality at night. The best way to go is to take shorter naps, just enough for you to restore your energy levels.
The quality of your sleep can be disrupted by low oxygen concentrations when you sleep. In such instances, it is essential to discuss our concerns with your healthcare provider to get a prescription for supplemental oxygen that allows you to sleep better at night.
Limit Your Stress Levels
Chronic anxiety and stress can worsen your COPD symptoms, and it’s not particularly unusual for patients with COPD to experience anxiety. If left unchecked, they could lead to shortness of breath or breathlessness. Hence, it is essential to choose healthy and productive ways to relax and keep stress at bay.
Visualization exercises and breathing techniques can be highly beneficial in dealing with anxiety. These techniques are often taught at mindfulness workshops conducted in pulmonary rehab programs.
COPD is a chronic condition, which means it will stay with you for the rest of your life. The better part of your daily life may go into managing the symptoms and taking care of your health, but you’re not alone in all this. You can count on your friends and family to be there for you. In addition, virtual telemedicine programs are also available for people looking for remote treatment and support to manage COPD.