For Asthma: It’s important you and your doctor or practice nurse manage your asthma together. Make sure you have regular appointments to review your symptoms and a full review at least once a year.
An asthma review should cover
• measuring your breathing by spirometry or peak flow
• reviewing your inhaler technique
• discussing your asthma triggers
• adjusting your treatment. If your asthma has been well controlled for six months, it may be possible to reduce your medication
• discussing your asthma action plan
You should agree a written asthma action plan with your health care professional. If you have a plan, you’re more likely to control your asthma and be less at risk of a severe attack.
Your plan should cover:
• what’s normal for you when your asthma is under control
• which medications you should take
• what to do about worsening symptoms: who to contact and how to alter your medications. You may be prescribed a rescue course of steroids to keep at home.
For COPD: If you have a long-term condition like COPD, you’ll feel better if you self-manage your condition and take some control of your life.
Knowing all you can about your condition, your symptoms, your medications and how to cope with flare-ups will make your day-to-day life easier.
Controlling your breathing
There are techniques to help you reduce breathlessness. Try to practise them every day. They can also help if you get out of breath suddenly. Being in control of your breathing means breathing gently, using the least effort, with your shoulders supported and relaxed.
Find out more about breathing techniques HERE
If you are still smoking STOP
If you smoke, stopping can help slow down or prevent further damage to your lungs.
Help is available from your GP and NHS stop smoking services.
Eating well and keeping a healthy weight
It’s important to eat a balanced diet and maintain a healthy weight. Your doctor or nurse can help you to work out what your healthy weight should be and can refer you to a dietician or local scheme to help you.
• if you’re overweight it will be harder for you to breathe and move around.
• If you’re losing too much weight because eating makes you feel breathless, or find it difficult to shop and prepare meals, try to eat little and often.
If you have COPD or Asthma, being active and exercising can help you to improve your breathing, your fitness and your quality of life. Don’t avoid activities that make you breathless: you’ll get less fit and out of breath more easily. Regular exercise can help reverse this by strengthening your muscles. Exercise also benefits your heart and blood pressure, and makes you less likely to develop conditions such as diabetes and osteoporosis (fragile bone disease).
If you have COPD the best way to learn how to exercise at the right level for you is to take part in pulmonary rehabilitation. Ask your doctor to refer you.
Pulmonary rehabilitation or PR is a programme of exercise and education designed for people living with COPD. It combines physical exercise sessions with advice and discussions about your lung health.
learn more about pulmonary rehabilitation here
COPD and Asthma can put a significant strain on your body and mean you’re more vulnerable to infections.
Everyone with COPD or Asthma is encouraged to have the annual flu jab and the one-off pneumococcal vaccination.
You can get these vaccinations at your GP surgery or a local pharmacy that offers a vaccination service.
Watch what you breathe
There are certain things that should be avoided if possible to reduce COPD symptoms and the chances of a flare-up, including:
• dusty places
• fumes, such as car exhausts
• air freshener sprays or plug-ins
• strong-smelling cleaning products (unless there’s plenty of ventilation)
Further Information can be found HERE