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Portable Oxygen Concentrator Resource Center

Living a Healthy Life with COPD: Planning Your Daily Schedule

Posted by Caleb Umstead on Jul 14, 2014 10:48:00 AM




Living with breathlessness is something that will follow you all throughout your treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), this is simply because COPD means your lungs and airways are damaged and blocked. The blockage makes it increasingly difficult for air to flow freely in and out of the lungs, which in return takes a toll on your body making it easier for you to become drained of energy and fatigued, even on the simplest of tasks like getting dressed. We will be talking about tips on how you can plan your day out so you aren't exerting too much energy on certain tasks, leaving you feeling not so fatigued at the end of each day.

Basic Adjustments:

  • Disperse daily chores throughout the week, chores that require lifting or a lot of energy/standing opt to accomplish those on different days.

  • After eating wait at least an hour before performing any physical activities. The digestion of food requires energy and if you are being physically active when digestion is occurring it may lead to you feeling tired faster.

  • Any task that can be completed sitting down, you should opt to sit down.

  • Use your portable oxygen concentrator as prescribed or when necessary.

Laundry Tips:

  • Whenever folding clothes or ironing sit down instead of standing, constantly standing requires more energy than you may think.

  • Do regular loads to avoid tower like piles from building up.

  • To avoid ironing in all try using the permanent press feature on your dryer.

Showering Tips:

  • Instead of using precious energy to dry yourself off after each shower, use a bathrobe and brush your teeth or make a cup of juice then return and dress yourself.

  • Non-slip flooring is important for safety measures!

  • Install grab bars near the toilet and in the shower to better support yourself.

Family Dinner Preparation: 

  • Plan dinner courses in advance so each day you know what to make.

  • Chop fresh veggies and fruits sitting down.

  • Freeze any additional left overs, that way on days your are feeling fatigued you can easily reheat a leftover meal.

  • Choose frozen or already prepared meals to conserve energy.

  • If at all during dinner preparation you begin to feel fatigued sit down and ask a family member to finish.

  • Use your oxygen concentrator while cooking, but always keep 3 - 4 feet away from open flames.

Cleaning and Conserving Energy is Easy When:

  • Vacuuming - Whenever you are vacuuming take a deep breath before staring, then exhale with pursed lip breathing and then begin pushing the vacuum forward and back. Repeat.

  • Dusting - Avoid cleaning sprays that can exacerbate COPD symptoms, and opts for a static duster preferably ones that have extending arms. Make dusting easier and less tasking by not cluttering shelves and tables.

  • Remaking the Bed - Break this process down into sections, focus on one side of the bed and slowly make your way around. Rushing this process will only further exacerbate your breathlessness.

  • Sweeping - When sweeping be sure to have a broom with a long handle so you can stand up straight and tall, avoiding having to bend down at the waist. Also use a long handled dust pan to avoid having to fully bend down to pick up the mess. Be sure to take frequent brakes as needed.

As a COPD patient your lung capacity or lung function is not near what it was before your diagnosis, due to the declining lung function you will begin to feel fatigued quicker even during activities that don't require a lot of energy. Which is why it is so imperative to your overall well being that you slow down and ask for help when accomplishing daily chores.

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+Caleb Umstead

Topics: COPD, Disease Management

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