What to do if you have breathing problems? Are you allowed to exercise, how and how much? What can you eat?
What to do if you have a problem with speech, concentration or are chronically tired? How to return to normal and cope with stress and depression? When is the time to seek help from a doctor?
These are just some of the most common questions of those who have had a crown, either with mild or severe symptoms, and we have tried to give you the answers with the help of a kind of guide published by the City Institute for Public Health in Belgrade.
It is common for a patient to feel short of breath after leaving the hospital. Due to the loss of strength and fitness during the illness, you can easily have difficulty breathing. What can help is to stay calm and learn how best to deal with shortness of breath. Controlled breathing will help you relax:
- Take a comfortable sitting position in a chair with a backrest;
- Place one hand on your chest, the other on your stomach;
- If it helps you relax, close your eyes and focus on breathing;
- Inhale slowly through your nose, then exhale through your mouth;
- Try to breathe with as little effort as possible, with light, relaxed and calm inhales and exhales.
Breathing in motion
This is useful to practice when performing activities that require more effort or during which you run out of breath, such as climbing stairs or climbing uphill. It is important to remember that there is no need to rush.
- Consider how to perform the activity gradually without getting too tired or out of breath;
- Inhale before starting an activity, such as climbing stairs;
- It may help you inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
Exercise is an important part of recovery, it can improve fitness, reduce shortness of breath, increase muscle strength, improve balance and coordination, reduce stress and improve mood, increase self-confidence.
It is important to perform the exercises in a safe way, especially if you have had difficulty moving, if your health condition can endanger your health during exercise, if you have been discharged with the prescribed oxygen therapy. In that case, you would have to practice under someone’s supervision for your safety.
- Practice warming up each time before exercise and stretching after exercise;
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing and footwear;
- After a meal, rest for at least an hour;
- Drink plenty of water.
* Avoid exercising in the heat and exercise indoors in very cold weather
If you experience any of these symptoms, do not exercise or stop immediately and consult a doctor: nausea, dizziness, severe shortness of breath, cold sweat or sweating, tightness or chest pain, severe pain.
Remember that it is normal to be short of breath while exercising and that it is neither harmful nor dangerous.
Types of exercises
Warming up your exercise body to prevent injury should take about five minutes, after which you should be slightly short of breath. You can perform warm-up exercises in a sitting or standing position. Repeat each movement 2-4 times.
This is followed by fitness exercises for 20 to 30 minutes, five times a week. Measure your time while exercising and gradually extend the duration of the exercise by as much as you like. It may take some time for you to return to the level before you become ill.
Muscle exercises will help you to improve the muscles that are weakened due to the disease, and you should do them three times a week. Set yourself the goal of doing 10 repetitions of each exercise three times, with a shorter break between each of the three sets.
Cooling down exercises allow the body to return to normal before you finish exercising. This process should take about five minutes, and breathing should return to normal by then.
1. Slow walking or light marching in place for two minutes;
2. Repeat the warm-up exercises to activate the joints;
3. You can perform stretching sitting or standing, it must be light and stay in the stretched position for 15-20 seconds.
Sometimes there can be problems with the voice. If your voice is hoarse and weak, it is important to remember the following:
Feel free to speak as you please. You will need to use your voice regularly to make a move;
Don’t strain your voice. Don’t whisper as this can put extra strain on the vocal cords;
Take breaks during speech. If you run out of breath while talking, don’t strain further;
Sing to your chin to practice your voice, but without straining;
Sip water as this helps keep the voice in shape.
Memory and concentration
It often happens that people who have been seriously ill have difficulty maintaining attention, have memory problems or have difficulty thinking soberly. These difficulties can go away in a few weeks or months, but for some people they can be a long-term problem. It is important to recognize problems because they can affect your relationships with people, daily activities, return to work or school.
Physical activity helps the brain to recover;
Brain exercises such as new hobbies, solving puzzles, playing with words and numbers, and reading can be helpful;
Use lists, notes, alarms, which will remind you that you need to do something.
Stress and depression
Illness can be a very stressful experience and can have a very negative effect on your mood. It happens that a person feels stress, anxiety (worry, fear) or is depressed. The mood can be further affected by frustration that you still cannot return to regular activities. That is why it is important to:
- Get enough sleep, try to return to regular sleep and wakefulness;
- Less nicotine, caffeine and alcohol along with additional relaxation techniques can help painful sleep;
- Eat healthy foods in sufficient quantities;
- Be physically active because it reduces stress, but also the chances of depression.
When to go to the doctor
It is important to consult a general practitioner, therapist or specialist if the following changes occur:
- Change in shortness of breath during rest that does not improve even after controlled breathing exercises;
- You run out of breath with minimal activity and no improvement after taking a good position;
- You have any symptoms during exercise;
- There is no improvement in attention, memory, thinking and fatigue, which prevents you from returning to work
- Worsening of the mood, especially if it lasts for several weeks.
You may notice difficulty swallowing and eating and drinking. This is because the muscles that help in the swallowing process are weakened. However, good nutrition and fluid intake are important for recovery. It is important to pay attention to swallowing to avoid suffocation or lung infection.
- Sit upright when eating or drinking
- Stay upright for at least 30 minutes after a meal
- It may help to choose soft foods in the beginning, or to cut hard ones into small pieces.
- Take your time, eat smaller bites, take small sips between bites and chew food well before swallowing.
- Eat smaller meals throughout the day if you get tired of eating larger meals.
Take care of yourself
Talking to others can help you reduce stress and find solutions to the challenges that await you on the road to recovery.
Do activities that relax you and don’t bother you too much: listening to music, reading …
Start gradually engaging in regular activities and hobbies, as much as you can
If you have visited a mental health therapist before the illness, continue with this practice.
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