Nutrition and COPD - Bronson Healthcare

Published on August 19, 2013

Nutrition and COPD

As we live a full and active life, most of us probably take breathing for granted. But that can all change if we have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

To help increase awareness of COPD, Bronson Battle Creek (BBC) is again offering a chronic lung disease series, scheduled quarterly on Tuesday afternoons. This third session, titled ‘Nutrition for Good Health,’ will be on September 10 from 2-3:30 p.m. in the hospital’s Outpatient Conference Rooms #1 & 2.

Nancy Shepperly, R.D. will serve as the keynote speaker. Discussion will focus on the importance of nutrition in maintaining good breathing and your health. There will be time for general questions and support following the program. A pulmonary rehabilitation therapist will also be on hand to answer questions and give a short tour of the outpatient pulmonary rehab center.

“COPD is an extremely serious chronic lung disease that makes breathing much more difficult and is a leading cause of death in the United States,” says Deborah Pierce, BS, RRT. “However by working with your physician and pharmacist and making some lifestyle changes, you can manage COPD, and symptoms can often be improved.”

The final program is scheduled for November 12, is a ‘wellness goal’ panel discussion. The programs are free to the public, but reservations are required because seating is limited. To receive more information or to register, call (800) 451-6310, or visit

The term COPD is used to describe two related lung disorders--chronic bronchitis and emphysema. If you have COPD, you have one or both of these conditions. With bronchitis, the walls of the passages that carry air to your lungs become swollen and scarred. Emphysema destroys the sacs in the lungs that release air.

COPD makes it more difficult to breathe because your air passages get smaller and your air sacs cannot empty. Your airways may also become clogged with mucus, which comes up when you cough.

Living well with COPD
Although there is no known cure for COPD, there are several things you can do to manage it and improve your quality of life. Early detection of the disease is important; it lets you begin to take steps to keep COPD from progressing.

To help manage the disease:

  • Stop smoking. No matter how old you are, it's crucial that you give up cigarettes.  Even if you are 75, stopping smoking will help you feel better.
  • Follow your doctor's advice about medications. You may be given bronchodilators to help open airways, corticosteroids to reduce inflammation in lungs and airways, or antibiotics to fight bacterial infections that make COPD worse.
  • Talk to your doctor about whether using an oxygen tank might help you breathe better.
  • Make sure the air in your home is clean and free of smoke and fumes.
  • Ask your doctor about breathing exercises that can help you when you are having trouble catching your breath.
  • Eat healthful foods, maintain a healthful weight, and stay as physically active as you can.

For more information, call Deborah Pierce, RRT, pulmonary rehabilitation (269) 245-8438.