Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a condition where there is long term damage to the lungs causing the pipes in the lungs to become narrow. This makes it hard for air to travel in and out. The commonest cause is smoking where toxic smoke damages the pipes. Symptoms that people experience are a cough, shortness of breath and the production of mucus on a daily basis. The effect of this is difficulty in doing your day to day tasks such as working, going to the shops etc. This condition makes you prone to picking up nasty chest infections which needs to be treated quickly and effectively to prevent serious illness.
How Can Tech Help?
For the motivated patient, once the condition has been diagnosed, it is important to identify with your doctor, what the cause could be. Once done, make a change.
Often the cause is smoking: I am fully aware that stopping smoking is hard but I guarantee that if you don’t make a change now, your lungs will get worse. You need to find something inside you that will drive you to make a change. It does not matter what it is. My father-in-law is an ex smoker. He stopped overnight. How? His son who was 6 at the time said to him, “I don’t want you to die daddy.” That was enough for him to stop. Technology can support you and the My Quit Buddy app can be used to help but the key thing is that YOU want to make a change. Find that motivating factor and maximise it to kick the habit.
Understand What You Are Dealing With
The myCOPD app is a very useful resource for information as well as many other things. We have suggested it because it enables you to understand what condition you are dealing with. If you understand, you feel in control. If you feel in control you avoid the feeling of helplessness that many people with a long term problem suffer from, which often then affects other aspects of their life such as their mood. Empowering yourself with knowledge will make you aware of how to slow progression, how to identify that a problem is developing before it becomes serious, how to treat the condition and so on. I have said this on many occasions in my blogs: read it, learn it, own it!
Identifying A Problem
Your first aid kit needs to be updated. A few pieces of simple technology can open up access to healthcare. Many of these items of technology can be used for other health issues but they certainly have a role in COPD. With this condition infections are common. If not identified or dealt with quickly it can end up with a hospital admission. Having the tools to gain objective information about your health can make a real difference. Two simple items - a thermometer and an oxygen monitor can provide sufficient information that a problem may be brewing. Someone with a high temperature and low oxygen levels and COPD needs to see a doctor soon. It could indicate that you have an infection that may be affecting your lungs ability to absorb oxygen. Add in a digital stethoscope and you can get a GP online to listen to your chest and decide what intervention is needed. Do you need to leave work now and see your GP face to face? Do you need to go to hospital or can this situation wait. Having the technology to hand will give your doctor important information to make a decision on your health.
When diagnosed with a long term health condition, it is important to know what to do in the worst case scenario. How to recognise a problem, how to act and when to call for help. It is vital that you learn this or be able to access the necessary information quickly. Downloading the Australian Red Cross first aid app on your phone will give you a resource that you can refer to whenever you need.
Our shortlisted range of products are not exhaustive but they serve to highlight what technology can do to help in COPD. Review the website and see if there are other suggestions that you may connect with. Group support sites are often a good source of information and support for people with long term health conditions. Our aim at HealthAide is to signpost you to options that could be of benefit to your health. The digital health industry is growing on a daily basis and new products are coming out daily. Stay in touch with us and let us empower you to make an informed choice about how to look after your health.
Blog post written by Dr Khurram Akhter.
Khurram is an experienced primary care physician and a thought leader
in the field of digital health.
Disclaimer: This text does not serve as medical advice and if you have any questions, seek advice from your doctor.