A Day in the Life with COPD

Man Walking Dog

When you’re living with COPD, every day is a new challenge. Inogen helps make certain obstacles easier by providing better breathing to users in compact, easy-to-travel concentrators. Yet there are many other obstacles to face every day even when your oxygen is extremely light and portable.

With COPD, things that for the large part of your life were easy may not be any more. Your body may react differently now to foods and exercises that used to feel commonplace. Because of this, it’s important to learn as much as you can and then develop a plan.

Everyday Health recognizes 10 challenges of daily life with COPD and how to address them. Here are a few and what the common takeaways are:

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Food + Diet

Everyday Health acknowledges that some people with COPD can get exhausted or short of breath while eating. A solution offered is eating smaller portions more frequently throughout the day.

When cooking food, it is advisable to keep all of your materials accessible. Re-consider: what do I use the most? What is used infrequently that can be stored up high? Reaching up or down for your everyday materials is a waste of energy that can be eliminated.

As for what you’re cooking, foods that cause bloating should be avoided when possible because of what that does to your breathing system. Gases put pressure on the abdomen and diaphragm, inhibiting your ability to breathe to the full extent.

Household Chores

Household chores have never been fun, but with COPD they can be especially tiresome. Everyday Health recommends keeping cleaning products, tools, and other items as accessible as possible. That includes laundry machines, which can oftentimes be found in basements. Consider installing laundry machines on the main floor to avoid stairs regularly.

Everyday Health also recommends that, when performing chores with cleaners, to opt for fragrance-free, bleach-free, or ammonia-free products.

Heading Out

Getting active outside the house isn’t easy with COPD. Walking around the neighborhood with a family member or pet is a great way to get exercise, but it can be exhausting and leave you short of breath. The key is to stay active within your comfort zone, and to resist giving up. “The less you do, the less you can do”, according to Everyday Health and Dr. Len Horovitz. That means that your body will benefit from gradually introducing more exercise. It won’t be easy, and no one is saying you’ll run a marathon next week, but building your stamina and endurance is a worthwhile endeavor.

If you’re heading out beyond the neighborhood to do some shopping, make sure not to over-extend yourself. Be strategic and limit excessive walking.

Bonus Outside the Daily Routine: Travel

Inogen has long emphasized the travel opportunities available to its users, made possible by the small size, lightweight, and general portability of the Inogen concentrators.

Everyday Health echoes Inogen’s message that people with COPD should travel wherever and however they want, as long as they are properly equipped:

“Always see your doctor before a trip, make sure you have enough medication, and plan trips with activities that you know you’ll enjoy.”

Tips & Guidelines for traveling with Inogen by train, plane, boat, or car can be found here.

COPD is difficult, and its obstacles can pop up anywhere over the course of your day. Inogen and Everyday Health both offer solutions that hopefully make life a little easier, and obstacles less intimidating.

Please feel free to share your stories of how you address everyday obstacles with us in the comments section or on Facebook.


Photo Credit: knoxseniors.org
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Asian Style Italian Pasta

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