Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a term, which encompasses chronic lung diseases such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
What is COPD?
COPD is caused primarily by smoking in New Zealand, but can also be caused by damage from other irritants such as exposure to chemical fumes. These irritants damage the lungs making breathing difficult. Emphysema occurs when the small air sacks that inflate as you breathe in are damaged and lose their elasticity - this can make breathing out more difficult. Chronic bronchitis occurs when the airways become inflamed and produce more mucous. This puts you at greater risk of lung infections such as pneumonia.
Symptoms of COPD include:
- Coughing every day, especially in the morning, sometimes referred to as a 'smokers cough'
- Coughing up mucous
- Shortness of breath and feeling wheezy, especially while exercising but this can occur at rest as well
- Repetitive lung infections
How Breathing Works helps people with COPD:
The most important thing you can do to help your COPD, if you have not done so already is to stop smoking!
- Teach you how to manage your lungs and monitor your symptoms so that you can improve your quality of life
- Use breathing retraining to teach you to breathe well at rest and during movement and exercise
- Strengthen your breathing muscles to reduce breathlessness and fatigue
- Teach you rescue breathing techniques, relaxation and recovery positioning
- Teach you effective speech control
- Address any musculoskeletal maladaptation such as overuse of the neck and shoulder muscles in breathing. This can lead to neck pain and tension.
You will feel more in control of your breathing, with less breathlessness. You will find it easier to go about your daily activities. You will feel better!