COPD is an umbrella term for emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Asthma is a chronic inflammation of the lungs. Chronic means it is permanent. You will sometimes have trouble breathing.
The main cause of COPD is smoking. The damage this causes to the lungs cannot be cured. The treatment focuses on reducing the symptoms and preventing more damage. The most important thing is to stop smoking. This is difficult. The physiotherapist can tell you where to get help.
Quitting smoking is always useful, even if you have smoked for thirty years, for example. You will feel better: you will get more air, more energy. And you prevent greater damage.
Getting enough exercise is also important. In addition, COPD drugs can weaken the muscles. Trained muscles need less oxygen. By being in good shape you can partly compensate for the limitations of your lungs. You can be more active in everyday life, for example taking longer walks, climbing stairs more easily or participating in sports. Protein-rich food is also important for strong muscles.
If you suffer from asthma, you are hypersensitive to stimuli in your airways. This can lead to chronic inflammation of the airways. This makes it harder to breathe at times. Complaints can be: shortness of breath, tightness of the chest, wheezing and coughing. Many people with asthma are allergic to certain substances, such as house dust mites, grass pollen or animal hair. People with asthma can also react more violently to non-allergic stimuli, such as smoke, perfumes or cold moist air. Finally, exercise can trigger an asthmatic response.
Many top athletes have asthma; the disease does not therefore mean that no normal life is possible. If you have asthma, the right medication, good breathing technique and a good condition are important for you.
What is the treatment for COPD and asthma?
The physiotherapeutic treatment for COPD and asthma consists of:
- huffing and coughing techniques to keep the lungs clear
- learn good breathing technique
- move efficiently
- improving the condition and muscle strength, whereby body awareness, a good dose, but also fun are important.