WHAT IS Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)?
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs. The two most common conditions contributing to COPD are emphysema and chronic bronchitis. The top cause of COPD is smoking, other causes include long-term exposure to chemical irritants.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF COPD?
- Shortness of breath (even during low intensity exercise) E.g; after a flight of stairs
- Chronic cough
- Frequent colds, flus and/or respiratory infections
- Low energy
- Tightness in the chest
HOW IS COPD DIAGNOSED?
COPD is Diagnosed via imaging, blood tests and lung function tests.
What does exercise improve to help with COPD?
- Energy levels
- Muscles strength and endurance
- Cardiopulmonary endurance and health
- Ability to fight infection
- Sleep quality
- Self esteem and self confidence
- Mental health
HOW CAN AN EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGIST HELP?
An exercise physiologist will prescribe a targeted exercise program tailored to your physical capacity. An exercise physiologist will monitor your signs and symptoms to maximise safety when exercising (oxygen saturation, heart rate, breathlessness and fatigue). If needed an exercise physiologist will explain techniques for alleviating breathlessness; pursed lip breathing, seated posture with hands on thighs, relaxing all other muscles, breathing out twice as long as breathing in (letting air escape naturally). Exercise will generally consist of a long warm up, an aerobic component, strength component and a cool down.
HOW IS COPD TREATED?
There is no cure for COPD, treatment is aimed at easing symptoms, decreasing the chance of complications and improving quality of life. Untreated COPD can lead to a faster progression of disease and complications. Treatments include medication, supplemental oxygen therapy, surgery and as previously discussed, exercise.