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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) (cont.)

COPD Self-Care at Home

Smoking cessation is the most important thing a person can do to improve their condition. Stopping smoking can improve COPD symptoms.

Most patients with COPD are currently smoking or have smoked in the past. A plan to stop smoking is an essential part of a comprehensive treatment plan. Smoking cessation success rates, however, are low because of the following:

  • The addictive power of nicotine
  • The conditioned response to smoking-associated stimuli
  • Psychological problems, including depression, poor education, and forceful promotional campaigns by the tobacco industry

Setting a quit date may be helpful. A health care professional will participate with the patient by setting a target date and by scheduling follow-up visits.

The transition from smoking to not smoking occurs in five stages:

  1. Precontemplation
  2. Contemplation
  3. Preparation
  4. Action
  5. Maintenance

The process of smoking cessation involves multiple interventions. Smoking intervention programs include the following:

  • Self-help
  • Group
  • Physician delivered
  • Workplace
  • Community programs

Successful cessation programs typically use the following resources and tools:

  • Patient education
  • A quit date
  • Follow-up support
  • Relapse prevention
  • Advice for healthy lifestyle changes
  • Social support systems
  • Adjuncts to treatment (for example, medications)

Many people with COPD are unable to enjoy life to the fullest because of shortness of breath, physical limitations, and inactivity. Pulmonary rehabilitation programs are designed to improve quality of life by decreasing airflow limitation, preventing secondary medical complications, and alleviating respiratory symptoms.

Pulmonary rehabilitation programs are first conducted in an outpatient setting and then can be continued at home. Guidelines for continuing this program at home will be provided to the patient. A rehabilitation program may include a number of components and will be tailored to the patient's needs.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/23/2015

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