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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Diet and Fitness Tips to Manage COPD Irrespective of External Elements

Tips to Manage COPD Irrespective of External Elements

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How to avoid exacerbation of COPD

Tips to Manage COPD Irrespective of External Elements



COPD, which is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, essentially comprises of two recurrent or chronic respiratory conditions presenting the obstruction of air flow in and out of the lungs. Conditions included in this spectrum called COPD are chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

Chronic Bronchitis

Chronic bronchitis is a condition characterized by a long standing inflammation in the airway conduit called bronchiole. Bronchiole are responsible for conducting air in and out of the lungs. Due to inflammation in the bronchiole, the lumen diameter may become narrow and lead to airflow obstruction and produce symptoms.


Emphysema is another long standing illness where there is hyper inflation of the air sacs called alveoli. This happens due to repeated, long standing and progressive inflammation in the alveoli. As a result, though the lung size is increased as a whole, there is poor oxygenation and airflow upon expiration, where air is slowed or stopped because of over inflated alveoli. Damaged alveoli do not pump all the air out of the lungs properly and result in symptoms like breathlessness.

It is very essential and important for every COPD patient to know and to ‘Ask a Doctor’ about how to deal with the condition, how to prevent acute exacerbations and the progression of the disease.

Tips to Prevent Acute Attacks and the Progression of COPD

1. Avoid Dust by Using Face Masks

Dust can not only trigger an episode of acute exacerbation of breathlessness but also cause slow progression of the disease, whether it be emphysema or chronic bronchitis.

2. Always Keep a Short Acting Reliever Inhaler with You

These medicated inhalers are advised to be used whenever the patient becomes symptomatic. Inhaling this medication will provide quick relief and prevent further worsening of the symptom. There are a few other inhalers which are given as preventer inhalers. These preventer inhalers need to be used only at specific times during the day.

3. Usage of a Peak Flow Meter

It is a portable small device which can scale the severity of a COPD patient’s condition. The device will give a glance into what the action plan needs to be. Baseline reading is noted on the device in which air is blown by the patient after a full inspiration. Whenever the patient becomes symptomatic or is asymptomatic, readings are taken which can help them decide on an action plan.

4. Sleeping in a Propped Up Position

In any respiratory condition, it is advisable to sleep in a propped up position which provides some ease in respiration and avoids sleepless nights. Sleeping in a reclining position, with the chest at a height, makes respiration easy.

5. A Routine Check-Up in Winter

Winters are bad for COPD patients due to the climate, temperature and type of dust encountered. It is advisable to visit the doctor once during winters to get the condition assessed. Check if there is a need to be put on a better acute attack preventer or reliever medication.

6. Do Not Miss a Preventer Dosage

Preventer medication acts on the basic mechanism of the disease and prevents acute attacks and the progression of the disease. Reliever medication may help you get out of a bad situation but preventers are better than remedial cure.

Since, COPD is a long standing condition like other non communicable diseases, it is necessary for the patient to know how to manage it in the long run. Educated patients are less likely to end up in the hospital due to hyped up preventive measures. Let’s aim to prevent rather than cure.


Written by Dr. Raju A. T.