Being diagnosed with COPD can be surprising to people who went years or all their lives without any sort of health issue. It’s even worse when people feel like it’s their own fault, since 90% of COPD cases are caused by smoking tobacco. Sometimes, however, you can bring back some of your lung function, even after being diagnosed with this lung disease.
Can I get my lung function back?
Over the years, tobacco smoke has done a number on your lungs, which has lead to the diagnosis of COPD. The alveoli, or tiny air sacks in your lungs, have been damaged. Some alveoli are completely damaged and will never work again, while others still manage to function. The lining of your airways have also become inflamed, and parts of your lungs may be overgrown because they’ve tried to compensate for not being able to bring enough air to the bloodstream.
If the damage is severe, you may hardly get any of your lung function back. In moderate cases, you might be able to get back more of your lung function, depending on what you do, and how fast you do it. If you catch COPD in a mild to moderate state, you’ll be able to get back more of your lung function if you quit smoking as soon as possible, and start working to live a healthier lifestyle.
Getting cardio exercise will help, just check with your doctor first. He or she should be able to give you advice for working out to improve your lung function. The most important factor to getting back some of your lung function, is how quickly you quit smoking and whether or not you can stay off of tobacco. Being persistent is the most important part. Gaining back lung function takes time and dedication on your part.
Why should I work on getting back my lung function?
You won’t get winded when walking from one end of your house to the other. As your lung function improves, you might only need a lower dose of a regular medication that you may be on, or you will find yourself not needing it at all. You should never lower your dose yourself or take yourself off a medication yourself. You will need to be examined and tested by your doctor to safely be taken off of a medication.
How is lung function measured?
A doctor can measure your lung function with a spirometer. Your doctor will have you breathe into a mouth piece as hard as you can, and the recording device sends information that can be displayed on a computer monitor, or printed out onto a piece of paper for your records. A spirometer reads a measurement called the FVC, or forced vital capacity, which describes the force of your exhale after you breathe in as deeply as you can. Peak expiratory flow (PEF) measures the quickness of your exhale, and total lung capacity (TLC) measures how much air your lungs can hold after you inhale as deeply as you can.