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Coping with COPD

November 19, 2019

It’s Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (or COPD) awareness month in November! Let us tell you a few facts about COPD and why exercise is beneficial. 

What is it? 

COPD is an umbrella term for a number of progressive lung conditions like chronic asthma and emphysema. 

It causes a narrowing of the bronchial tubes in the lungs which then makes it difficult to breath. COPD is progressive and currently there are no known cures. The right diagnosis and treatment allows individuals to manage the condition and breathe better.

What are the causes?

  • Smoking- this includes if you currently smoke, had done so in the past or are exposed to passive smoking
  • Environmental Factors- long term exposure and contact with harmful pollutants.
  • Genetics- A number of people have a form of emphysema caused by a protein disorder, alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD), this is where the body struggles to produce the Alpha-1 protein which protects the lungs.

How can exercise help?

It seems counterintuitive- you have a disease which is making you breathless why should I exercise which make me even more breathless?

Not only does exercise improve your overall health and wellbeing it can actually reduce those symptoms of breathlessness. 

If you’re still not convinced, here’s a list of other things exercise can help with for those living with COPD:

  • Clear mucus (or sputum) from your chest
  • Reduce your breathlessness during daily activities
  • Make your heart stronger and healthier
  • Increase the number of activities that you are able to do each day or each week
  • Improve your balance
  • Improve your mood and make you feel more in control
  • Make you more independent
  • Assist your weight control

Getting the Right Advice

If you have been diagnosed with COPD, exercise can help! But it is important to get the right advice to ensure you remain safe.

Exercise Physiologists are specifically trained to understand the complexities of this condition and can help you exercise safely to improve your health and well- being.


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