COPD is a complex lung disorder that leads to debilitating quality of life for the sufferer. If you have been diagnosed with COPD, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, it is important to understand not only how your condition is treated but to also become familiar with the best ways in which to manage the flare up of COPD symptoms.
Your pulmonologist, when managing your COPD, should have provided a clear guide as to how to treat your condition but also what environmental factors you should avoid – specifically, dry, dirty air, environments with excessive smoke, and even areas where you may be at-risk for lung infection. In addition to all of these preventative measures, you should also prepare an action plan to manage your COPD symptoms when they are exacerbated by exposure to these types of conditions.
And action plan for COPD should be written and provide clear instructions on what should be done to treat your lung condition when symptoms may prevent you from speaking your expressing your needs. Once written, give the instructions to your closest friends, family and even a neighbor or nurse who may be visiting with you on a regular basis. The action plan should provide instructions on how the individual can obtain information and access to a ventilator, if you need one, how to obtain oxygen if you need some, and what medications may be administered to assist in reducing exacerbated symptoms.
The action plan for COPD should also provide the individual with instructions on how to effectively modify your environment to make the symptoms dissipate. Because COPD symptoms are often flared by pet dander, smoke, dry air, fumes from heaters, and even stress, understanding how to modify these conditions can help with alleviating your COPD symptoms. The action plan may include instructions on how to set up an air condition or purifier, when to close the windows to the outdoors, and when to close flues and modify exposure from the chimney or fireplace.
Action plans are a critical part of the treatment plan for COPD. If you have been diagnosed with this life altering lung disorder, be certain you are preparing an action plan and then sharing that plan with people who are most closely associated with you and your daily activities. Understanding what environmental factors should be modified is key to your health and to recovering from a flare up of COPD symptoms. Your family and friends will thank you for providing them with the resources to assist you in treating the COPD symptoms.
Sources: American Academy of Physicians, 2006(14) 6-10.