Wednesday, July 11, 2007

More From Cecil

These are a few things that I have developed in the past to aid fellow copd'ers. It is no where near enough info but it is a good place to start. Some of the references are outdated and I will revise this when I have time and update it. Cecil/Ark

We have to learn to individualize our thoughts with our illness from the start. Every one will give you advice and this is good but never assume because it works for someone else it will work for you. All these things should be discussed with your DR before trying someone else's suggestion on what worked for them.
The below listed steps are what I outlined.
I believe these are necessary to live and function with a halfway normal life. If you pay attention to these it will help immensely. I am not an expert but have gained years of experience. A lot of it went into this.

1. Education -
it is very important that you educate yourself on your illness and all the things you can do to make life easier and prolong your life. This is very easily done with the tools available nowdays. The Internet can give a wonderful sense of understanding. Some excellent sites for reference are

These will give you any information you need and will give you a good insight
on how to gain control of your illness.

2. Medical support-
If you don't have a PCP and a pulmonologist you can work with and are willing to work with you then you need to find them as soon as possible. Regardless of your level of illness I would stress that you "hound" your medical support about pulmonary rehab, if you have one in your area and your insurance will pay for it. This program is probably the most beneficial in understanding your illness and how to control your individual problems.

Also, you might want to talk to your DR about the possibility of your insurance company purchasing an oxymeter.A sample letter for your DR to request the oxymeter is available at ( This will allow you to monitor your oxygen saturation in your blood while you are doing your daily chores and exercising. Oxygen readings below 88% can be dangerous
to your other internal organs.

3. Smoking-
I don't know if you are a smoker or not.
If you are then I would suggest that you stop ASAP!
Cigarettes will almost double your deterioration rate with this illness.

4. Exercise-
this can be a life saver, and will in most cases, improve your quality of life. I know you are thinking "how do I exercise when I can't breathe?" This can be done and when you get accustomed to it the ease will surprise you.
Pursed Lip Breathing(PLB) is a great help in this area.
This is done by breathing in through your nose and counting to four at the same time. Then you forcefully exhale counting to eight. This is also great for lowering anxiety and pulse rate.

A good site for sample exercising is
However, you should always consult your physician before starting any exercise program.
Exercise is so important. If your muscles are toned it will allow more oxygen for your internal organs where it is most critical. Exercising is also well covered in the first list of sites.

5. Diet-
this is also important because there are certain things that are not done with our illness. It is important to stay away from food that produce gas and bloating. This will push up on your diaphragm which will result in a shortness of breath.
Stay away from sweets as much as possible. These take much more oxygen to process in your digestive system which can result in a shortness of breath. Good examples of gaseous foods is cabbage, most beans, broccoli and different legumes.
It is also important to control your weight. If you let yourself get too thin, which is a side effect in some cases, you will become too weak to handle all the other areas that need attention.
If you get overweight then you will have extra exertion and a constant strain on your diaphragm causing a shortness of breath.
In addition, drink plenty of water every day. This will keep the mucus loose in your lungs so that it can be easily coughed up. It is recommended that you drink half your body weight, in ounces, of water each day.
Example, 120 lbs should consume 60 ounces of water.

6. Maintain a good mental outlook.
If your situation does start to affect you mentally see a DR to assess your situation. Medication for depression or anxiety may be required. These are a fairly common side effect of our illness. If a person lets the mental side effects take control then you can't be responsible enough to control the physical aspects of our illness.
It is all one giant circle and it must be kept continuous in order for every thing to function properly.

I am going to close this book by saying that it all seems scary, complicated and you are probably wondering what you are into at this time. I can say I have known people who have lived for years with this illness and are in their 70's and 80's.
A lot depends on the individual.
When you become familiar with all this and get a daily routine established it is not much different from anything else.

Below are some tips received from a friend of mine who has done remarkably well in regaining control of her illness and seems to be holding her own exceptionally well, even digressing in a few areas.

Izzy's Tips:
>A person does not realize how important it is to get yourself into a routine of
getting up in the mornings and going to bed at night!!!
I was instructed that I have to rest this body at least 6 hours solid if not more. I finally got to the more where it is between 8 to 9 hours of solid rest and sleep.
>It also is important to get your meds in a routine.
>For the ones that are ill, please keep movin the best you can as it is a necessity even if it is only one step do it as it is an accomplishment.
>Keep a daily record so you can look at it at the end of a week and say
"I did accomplish this!!" Each step forward means alot!!!

I'll close on this note - Each step means that step FORWARD, I can't express that enough!!! Attitude is everything!!!