What is it ?
In an age where everyone is looking for that miracle cure for COPD it’s been right in front of us all this time. What is it I hear you say ? Before I let you in on the secret let’s consider a few things.
What does this cure have to achieve ?
COPD is an obstructive respiratory disease where patients need to remove trapped gas from their lungs to make room for fresh oxygen. In order to carry this out we need to find a way to either repair the damaged lung or make the body utilise oxygen more efficiently as well as being able to expel that trapped gas. Sounds complicated, but it’s not really.
How do we achieve this ?
Given that structural damage will vary between patients, this cure would have to be adaptable between patients, simple to understand and above all show a noticeable difference to patients when used. We have our medications that help open up our airways so air can be drawn easier. Now we need to expel more dead air so we can breath in fresh oxygen.
The Cure ?
Ok it’s not a cure, but it’s been proven time and time again by COPD patients around the world, myself included, EXERCISE is the one tool that can be used by all COPD patients regardless of the severity of their disease. It is simple to understand and regular exercise has shown improvements in patients quality of life regardless whether they are oxygen dependant or not. My own experience serves as a prime example, diagnosed with Stage IV COPD and a lung function of 22%, exercise has allowed me to compete in triathlons, Ironman events and this year the New York marathon. There is absolutely no reason why other patients can’t improve their quality of life.
So why aren’t more people exercising ?
To put it bluntly, they say it’s to hard! Making a person with respiratory disease more breathless to many patients might not make a lot of sense. The reality is very different. Exercise the right way in consultation with your Doctor and trainer is the safest and most productive way to do this. Exercise is hard but rewarding. If you have the choice of being inactive and letting your health deteriorate or being active and enjoying a better quality of life what would you choose?
Choose Your Cure !
My exercise revolves around swimming , cycling and running with the odd gym session thrown in. Yours can be anything that gets you moving and you enjoy, from chair exercises to running marathons. The key is to start slowly and build your exercise capacity. As your capacity builds so does your strength and fitness. Quality Pulmonary Rehabilitation classes are a good place to start to build your own cure and often you can find one by contacting your local hospital. If you stick with it and make regular exercise a routine part of your life, you will have a better quality of life.
So while my experience hasn’t cured the structural problems associated with COPD, it has cured many other problems associated with this disease.