COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) has been in the news these past couple weeks, after Leonard Nimoy, famous for playing Spock on Star Trek, died of the disease at age 83. Unfortunately, there is no cure for COPD. But there are things you can do to slow its progress, feel better, and live a more active lifestyle.

  1. 1. Quit Smoking

  2. When Nimoy announced that he had COPD last year, he said it was because of his years of smoking. If you smoke, quitting is the most important thing you can do to treat COPD. Smoking speeds the progress of COPD and causes lung function to decline.

  3. 2. Get Vaccinated

  4. While not fun for anyone, getting the flu can be especially harmful to those with COPD, worsening symptoms considerably. So get that flu shot, and stay healthy.

  5. 3. Live Healthy

  6. Eating a proper diet, exercising and sleeping well will make your body stronger in general and lower your risk of infections and getting ill. Breathing exercises specifically can help strengthen your respiratory muscles.

  7. 4. Take Your Medicine

  8. Your doctor may prescribe a long acting or short acting bronchodilator. Bronchodilators help open your airways so you can breathe easier. Long acting bronchodilators, as their name suggests, help you over a long period of time, usually about 12 hours, and are taken every day. Short acting bronchodilators only last 4 to 6 hours and are taken only when needed. Bronchodilators can be taken through an inhaler or nebulizer.