Are air purifiers good for COPD patients?
Looking for a way to breathe easier and live healthier? Air purifiers operate by creating negative ions, which is an excellent way to ease symptoms of COPD.
It's important that you research the different types of air purifiers, find the one that best suits your budget and needs. And once you get it, make sure to follow our tips on how to use it successfully!
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Are air purifiers good for COPD patients?
COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and is typically a progressive lung disease that can lead to breathing difficulties later in life. Sufferers of COPD suffer from increased production of mucus, swelling in the airways and bronchial constriction.
This can cause shortness of breath, fatigue and an increased risk of hospitalisation. Air purifiers are a simple way to clean the air, remove excess gases such as methane and other toxins like tobacco smoke, mould spores and certain chemicals. Studies have shown that inhaling these toxins can worsen your condition.
In order to reap the benefits gained from using an air purifier, you should make sure that your machine is properly cleaned at least once a month.
What are the best air purifiers for people with COPD?
It is important to do your research before buying an air purifier. Since you are more prone to developing an infection, it is best to find one that has a built-in ioniser and a pre-filter. It should also be at least capable of producing ions for 2 hours straight or longer.
With the use of an air purifier, you can enjoy the following benefits:
- Minimise the risk of contracting infection and coughs through smoke particles, dust and bacteria found in indoor air.
- Relieves asthma attacks and sinus infections through removing airborne pollutants such as cigarette smoke, pet dander and dust from carpeting.
- Eliminates odours caused by mould, bacteria and fungal spores.
Even if you don't have any medical concerns, the benefits of using an air purifier are reduced stress levels, increased energy and a restoration of mental health. Studies show that those who use an air purifier also feel more relaxed and productive at work. This can benefit your career significantly.
Is air purifier good for lungs?
Long-term exposure to air pollutants such as tobacco smoke and air pollutants have been implicated in COPD. An air purifier can help to reduce indoor pollution (such as dust and pollution) and can improve indoor air quality. Cleaning the air efficiently with an air purifier can help to improve your respiratory and general health.
Just make sure to purchase one that is right for you, as you may have additional health considerations prior to purchasing this product. For example, if you are allergic to pets, then it would be best to find an air purifier that does not contain pet dander. Many brands provide this information on their manufactures website so it's best to check before purchasing a purifier.
What are the signs that COPD is getting worse?
The most common signs or symptoms of COPD include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chronic coughing/coughing up mucus which may be blood-tinged or have a strong odour (i.e. garlic)
- Wheezing and tightness in the chest
- Chest pain, palpitations and dizziness
- Fatigue and mental fog
- If you are having any of these symptoms, it is best to seek medical attention.
What is the 6 minute walk test for COPD?
"The six-minute walk test is a simple test to evaluate the ability of a patient with pulmonary (lung) disease to perform prolonged physical activity on their own and without seeking immediate medical attention. It can help determine if the patient's respiratory function has deteriorated to the point where they are at risk for severe consequences from exertional exercise"
By Dr. Michael R. Levine
What should you not do if you have COPD?
- Avoid smoking
- Avoid being in polluted areas too often
- Drink plenty of water, at least 8 glasses a day and enough to keep your urine colour pale yellow or clear. If you're dehydrated, your urine will be dark yellow to amber.
- Exercise moderately and regularly by walking within your limits. On bad days, take a break from any physical activities. You can do exercise that is not too strenuous on your breathing muscles such as yoga or stretching instead.
What you should not do when you have COPD:
- Don't exercise too vigorously. Overdoing it can cause shortness of breath, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. This is a medical emergency!
- Don't lift weights if your doctor says it's okay. Don't use your muscles too much and don't participate in any "high-impact" sports (like football) if they cause shortness of breath.
- Don't dry mop or vacuum if you have a lung condition – wear an air filter mask when doing these things to prevent dust from entering your lungs.
- Don't smoke, as it can cause inflammation in your lungs and a decline in lung function.
- Don't eat foods that you know you're allergic to – this can trigger inflammatory responses in your body.
- Don't go out in the cold if you have COPD – humidify your house to reduce lung irritation when the weather is either too hot or too cold.
- Don't let anyone smoke around you if you have COPD.
- Don't do anything that could cause a wheezing spell or shortness of breath. If you get short of breath or start wheezing, sit down and relax until the feeling goes away (this could take a few minutes).
What triggers COPD flare ups?
COPD is a lifelong disease, but flare ups will occur and it's important to know what can trigger these. When you know what triggers flareups, you can try and avoid them.
Common triggers for COPD flare ups include:
- Cold or dry air in your surroundings (i.e. Central heating)
- Exposure to smoke or other airborne pollutants (air purifiers can help with this)
- Breathing in cold, dry air, which can cause inflammation in the lungs (warm humid air is better for your breathing)
- Physical activity that makes you breathe harder than normal (even minor tasks such as vacuuming can trigger a flare up, particularly if there is a lot of dust in your home)
- Being around cigarette smoke – second hand smoke or inhaling someone else's cigarette smoke also causes flare ups because it irritates the lungs and makes them inflamed.
Exposure to irritants (e.g. cleaning chemicals)
Coping with COPD
Coping with COPD can be difficult, as this is a chronic disease that cannot ever be cured, but there are some things you can do to manage your illness and live a better quality of life. The following tips may help:
- Make sure that you're always drinking plenty of water – keep an eye on the colour of your urine to make sure you're doing this and remember to drink extra on bad days.
- Exercise regularly – take regular walks within the limits that your body allows or consider low impact forms of exercise such as stretching and yoga.
- If you smoke, quit or keep it to a minimum.
- Keep your house properly ventilated and make sure that there is no dust or other irritants in the air.
- Try to avoid being exposed to airborne pollutants from smoking, air pollution or having people around you who smoke.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating healthily and keeping yourself fit.
Try not to be over-cautious and take things seriously (such as doctor's appointments) – when they are necessary, make sure that you go to see them, but don't let them affect your entire life.
Can walking help COPD?
By Dr. Michael R. Levine
"Walking is highly recommended for individuals with COPD. It helps improve your cardiovascular and respiratory fitness, increases your endurance, builds up muscle strength, and improves the efficiency of your lungs."
Walking will help manage the symptoms of COPD and overall health; however, it's important that you do it at a pace that is comfortable for you. If your walking is too fast or too intense, you may experience shortness of breath and wheezing.
"When walking, try to maintain a comfortable stride to avoid shortness of breath and cough (wheezing). You should continue to walk at a pace that causes minimal discomfort."
Remember that the following activities may aggravate COPD:
- Running excessively – running places strain on your heart and lungs.
- Cycling – cycling places strain on your same regions.
- Swimming – adding drills into a swimming session can make matters worse.
Running can help COPD patients if it's done at a pace that's comfortable for them. Walking with a steady rhythm is also better for your breathing and cardiovascular system.
Can I live 20 years with COPD?
Adults with COPD have a lower life expectancy compared to the general population.
People who suffer from COPD often live less than those without the disease. Many people, however, do live longer than 20 years with the disease. Life expectancy for adults with COPD is on average, between 5 and 10 years shorter than those who are not affected by it.
One of the more common diseases among those with COPD is emphysema and asthma
What is the best climate for COPD?
Extreme temperature and humidity can damage the airways in COPD patients, so make sure that you regularly keep your house well ventilated. If you live in a hot climate or a place that experiences a lot of humidity (like the Caribbean) make sure that you bring your dehumidifier with you.
How do you stop COPD from progressing?
COPD does not have a cure, but there are treatments that can be used to help slow down the disease and make it easier to manage.
The following treatments may help lower the symptoms of COPD:
- Anti-inflammatory medications – these work by reducing any irritation in your lungs. Anti-inflammatory medication should be used only for short periods of time and you should always talk to your doctor before using them.
- Steroids – steroids are used extensively to treat inflammation in a number of different conditions, but they can also be used in patients with COPD to reduce symptoms. It's important to be aware that steroids should not be taken for more than 2 years, and they should only be used if you have particular problems with your COPD.
- Stronger medications – different medications are available to help people with COPD. More controversial is the use of steroids, which can have severe effects on your respiratory system.
Many of these medications are able to help improve lung function and ease breathing problems by reducing inflammation in the lungs, but do not make a significant difference to your life expectancy.
In the short term these treatments can ease symptoms or control worsening symptoms; however, they will not prevent chronic lung disease from progressing or from affecting the rest of your body.
Better Overall Health
In order to live as well as possible with COPD, you need to take good care of yourself. You should make sure that you are eating healthily and working on increasing your stamina so that you can do things such as exercise.
This will not only help COPD symptoms but may also improve the way you feel generally, which will make life easier for you.
You can help lower the risk of COPD developing into a more complicated disease by:
- Not smoking – smoking increases the risk of developing chronic lung disease.
- Getting regular exercise – regular exercise is a great way to help manage symptoms and increase lung capacity as well as reduce fatigue.
- Maintaining a healthy lifestyle – this sounds obvious, but you will be able to manage your COPD much easier if you take care of your body in other ways.
- Avoiding air pollution – avoid breathing in polluted air. Pollution is known to have a significant effect on the inflammation and functioning of the lungs, so it's really important that you avoid pollution whenever possible.
- Wearing a mask when outside– even if it isn't pollution related; air pollution can irritate the lungs and make symptoms worse.
In summary, COPD can affect every area of your life and you will need to work closely with health professionals if you want to manage it. Although it might not be possible to cure this disease, there are treatments that you can use to ease symptoms and help make your life easier.
It's important to discuss these treatments with your doctor and be ready for when they stop working.
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Does dust affect COPD?
Yes, dust can worsen the symptoms of COPD. – If you have a pet, make sure that you brush them regularly and keep your house as clean as possible. If you have a dust allergy, use an air filter to improve the quality of air in your home.
With COPD, even mould can make breathing difficult - Avoid it as much as possible. If you can see mould growing in your home, get rid of it.
If I have COPD should I visit a specialist?
If the symptoms are particularly bad or if you are having problems managing your symptoms then you may be advised to see a respiratory specialist (an expert in lung diseases). These specialists will be able to give you detailed information on managing your condition and improving symptoms such as breathlessness and fatigue. They may also be able help with self-care techniques such as breathing exercises.
Does central heating make COPD worse?
Yes, central heating can cause COPD to deteriorate. If the heating is not working properly it can aggravate COPD symptoms such as shortness of breath and coughing. It can also cause dry coughs and exacerbations. This was studied by Johns Hopkins University.
Is it true that diabetics have a higher chance of developing COPD?
Yes, diabetes can increase an individual's chance of developing chronic lung disease. Research has found that diabetics have a considerably higher risk than people who are not diabetic. Around 10% to 20% of people with diabetes will develop COPD at some point in their lives. The exact reason for this is not completely understood, but it may be because the increased sugar levels in the blood affect breathing muscles.
Does alcohol make COPD worse?
Yes, alcohol can exacerbate the symptoms of COPD, mainly because it makes the airways (the tubes that carry air in your lungs) less effective. This is because alcohol can irritate and inflame the lining of the bronchial tubes.
What foods are bad for COPD?
The following foods can be bad for COPD:
- Alcohol - drinking too much alcohol can inflame the airways in COPD patients. Alcohol is also likely to make other symptoms such as shortness of breath and coughing worse.
- High-sugar foods - sugar can cause an increase in mucus production in your lungs. Eating too much high sugar foods can also make breathing more difficult. This is because sugar causes the body to produce extra mucus, which drips down into your lungs and makes it hard for you to breathe. It's best to stick to low/non-sugar foods, especially if you have a problem with COPD.
- High-salt foods - salt can cause an increase in mucus production in COPD patients, because salt makes the body produce more mucus. Eating too much salted food can also make breathing more difficult because salt causes excess mucus to be produced. If you have a problem with COPD it is best to stay away from high-salt or salty foods.
- Fatty foods - eating too much fatty food can also cause mucus production in COPD patients. Fatty foods may make breathing more difficult by causing the body to produce extra mucus.
- Coffee - can irritate the lining of your airways making it harder to breathe.
- Caffeinated drinks - the same as coffee, these can irritate your airways making it harder to breathe.
- Tea - the same as coffee, black tea is likely to cause an increase in mucus production in COPD patients.
- Dairy products - dairy products are likely to make breathing more difficult in COPD patients because they produce mucus.
If you have a problem with COPD, try not eat these foods and drink plenty of water and clear juices instead.