Unexpected Difficulties Running Errands With COPD

Tips for Performing Activities and Staying Well

Errands With COPDIf you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), you know carrying out routine activities isn’t as easy as it used to be. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help you maintain your independence, perform daily activities more readily, stay well, and enjoy life more.

Shortness of Breath and Fatigue

There are many reasons certain activities may be harder than they used to be. Two of the biggest challenges you may face with your COPD are fatigue and shortness of breath — and they often occur simultaneously.

Fatigue has many causes, including the obvious: it may arise if you do not get enough sleep. You will also tire easily if you are not maintaining enough oxygen or retaining too much carbon dioxide in your body. In addition, if you do not eat a healthy diet you will be more susceptible to fatigue.

Shortness of breath may increase when you are active. It is likely to be especially pronounced when you perform activities that require you to reach over your head. If you cough frequently or have recently had an exacerbation of symptoms, you will likely feel fatigued and short of breath when you are active.

If you feel anxious about performing activities, you may experience shortness of breath and fatigue due to the energy-draining effects of anxiety. Anxiety medications may deplete your energy levels as well, as do many medications for COPD.

Identify the Problem

It is likely that difficulty performing activities, such as running errands or doing groceries, is due to a combination of causes.

Identifying the origin of obstacles is the first step to reducing or eliminating them. You may find it valuable to consult with your health care provider, particularly if you experience worsening or new onset of difficulties performing tasks.

Sometimes medication and other treatments may need to be implemented or changed. Regardless of whether your disease is in its early stages or advanced, there are treatments available to help you.

Preventing Fatigue and Shortness of Breath

Once you have identified the cause or causes of your fatigue, you will be able to take steps to manage it so you can perform everyday tasks easier.

Exercise Improves Stamina

Begin an exercise program if your health care provider agrees. Ask your doctor to recommend a physical or occupational therapy consultation.

Physical and occupational therapists are experts regarding exercise and adaptive techniques designed to make your life easier. They may also recommend equipment that will enable you to complete activities with greater ease.

Next page: what to consider before beginning an exercise program

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