Preventing Fatigue and Shortness of Breath
For example, you may benefit from using a grab bar to pick up objects without having to bend or reach as far as you normally do. This can be a great device to conserve your energy. They may also suggest you use a wheelchair for daily or occasional use.
Physical and occupational therapists can teach you a wide array of energy-conserving tips. Nurses and respiratory therapists will help you to perfect breathing techniques to reduce fatigue. You may benefit from using a rescue inhaler prior to performing strenuous activities.
When beginning an exercise program with your physical therapist, consider the following:
- Begin gradually.
- Choose a suitable exercise program for your current level of health.
- Walking is a great exercise.
- If you are wheelchair bound, you can still engage in an exercise program to build strength and increase your level of energy.
- By gradually enhancing your stamina, you will be able to perform activities with greater ease. You will also be able to cough up excess secretions more readily and prevent fluid from accumulating in your lungs, decreasing your risk of contracting infections.
Take Steps to Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Many people who have COPD do not sleep well. This may be due to anxiety, frequent coughing, and a worsening of symptoms at night. All of these factors feed into each other and wreak havoc on sleep.
You may need an anti-anxiety medication at night or you may benefit by making changes in the environment you sleep in. Using extra pillows, a fan, or sleeping in a recliner are just a few of the many options that may help you get a better night’s sleep.
Use a Portable Oxygen Tank or Compressor
If shortness of breath interferes with your ability to be active, you may need a portable oxygen unit prescribed even if you do not normally use oxygen at home.
Pushing, pulling and lifting can cause a great deal of fatigue. Having portable oxygen with you will help to ensure your tissues function optimally, affording you with opportunities to do what you want to do with greater ease. Talk with your health care provider and oxygen supplier. A wide array of compact models are available — do your research and compare portable oxygen concentrators to find which is the best for you.
Make Activities Easier
Think carefully about possible solutions for making activities easier. Take frequent breaks. Perform strenuous activities over short periods of time, rather than in one large block.
For example, rather than combing your hair, shaving, and brushing your teeth one after another, take breaks in between each activity. If standing at the sink is too tiring for shaving, purchase an electric razor and shave while sitting down.
Next page: ways to conserve your energy so you can perform everyday tasks like running errands with COPD