Hydration Tips for People Living with COPD

Young woman with COPD drinking glass of water.

Staying regularly hydrated plays an important role in fighting infection, supplying nutrients to the body, and keeping organs functioning properly. [1]

Water also regulates the body’s temperature [2] and will replenish any fluids you lose from urinating, sweating, or excessive exercising. There is no doubt that water is essential to our health and wellness, but if you’re living with a chronic lung condition and are more prone to developing thick, sticky mucus in the lungs, water can actually help thin and loosen mucus, so it’s easier to move. [3]

Fighting Mucus Buildup

A common symptom among COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and bronchiectasis patients is excess mucus. When the lungs can’t mobilize and clear mucus—whether this is due to loss of cilia, lung damage, or an upper respiratory infection—mucus gets stuck and infection spreads. 

Remember, our bodies naturally produce more mucus when we’re fighting an infection. But if you’re unable to move the mucus containing the germs or bacteria that the body is trying to flush out of your system, it can stay there and cause other issues to develop, including:

  • Wheezing
  • Sore Throat
  • Cough
  • Congestion
  • Respiratory Infection [4]

To help break up mucus and help prevent recurring respiratory infections, airway clearance therapy can be a great option to help manage symptoms from a chronic lung condition. But in addition to this treatment, one way to help thin mucus is by staying hydrated. [5]

How Much Water Do I Need to Drink to Rehydrate My Body?

Graphic Icon depicting recommended daily cups of water.

It’s recommended that women drink an average of 11 cups per day and men consume an average of 16 cups daily. [6] However, every person has a different lifestyle and may require more than the average recommended amount. For instance, if you exercise frequently, or live in a hotter climate, you may require more servings of water per day.

To help you get the correct amount of water each day, always talk to your clinician.

3 Hydration Tips for Your Chronic Lung Condition

Our schedules get busy, and sometimes, a task as simple as drinking a glass of water throughout the day slips our mind. To help ensure you are drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day, here are a few recommended hydration tips:

Graphic icon depicting water pitcher.Spread It Out

Rather than trying to get your fill of water in one sitting, be sure to spread it out throughout the day. The American Lung Association recommends a person fills a water pitcher each morning with your clinician’s recommended amount of water. Keep it in the fridge and refill your glass throughout the day. This will allow you to measure out the exact amount you need to consume and help you stay on track. [7]

Graphic icon depicting lime wedge.Mix It Up

Water is nourishing, but it can also be boring. To help you add a bit of flavor, you can add a splash of lemon or lime juice or incorporate healthy fruit and vegetable options that also provide hydration, including watermelon, cucumbers, strawberries, or cantaloupe. [8]

“Remember, any healthy caffeine-free fluid counts toward your fluid goal, and most foods contribute a substantial amount of fluid, as well.” [9]

Graphic icon depicting alarm clock.Set a Timer

Every so often, we all need a friendly reminder. Schedule a timer on your phone to let you know when it’s time for a water break. You may decide to drink a glass of water before and after a meal, or every couple of hours. As noted before, be sure to consult with your clinician to know how much water you’ll need to drink each day. From there, you can spread out the times you want to drink water, using a pre-set timer.

This will help you make hydration a normal part of your daily routine!

Find Support for Your Chronic Lung Condition

To learn more about COPD, bronchiectasis, and other chronic lung conditions, you can subscribe to our blog for more news, tips, and resources. 

 

 


And if you’d like to learn more about the benefits of adding airway clearance therapy to your treatment plan, request a patient packet today or contact our Patient Care Advocate to answer any questions you may have! 
   


Resources:

[1] Harvard T.H. Chan. School of Public Health. “The Importance of Hydration.” Retrieved from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/the-importance-of-hydration/

[2] Medical News Today. “Fifteen Benefits of Drinking Water.” Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/290814

[3] Lung Health Institute. “Staying Hydrated with COPD.” Retrieved from https://centersforrespiratoryhealth.com/blog/staying-hydrated-with-copd/

[4] Medical News Today. “What causes mucus in the lungs?” Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321549.php

[5] Medical News Today. “Home Remedies for Phlegm and Mucus.” Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321134

[6] Harvard T.H. Chan. School of Public Health. “The Importance of Hydration.” Retrieved from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/the-importance-of-hydration/

[7] American Lung Association. “Nutrition and COPD.” Retrieved from https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/copd/living-with-copd/nutrition

[8] Lung Health Institute. “Staying Hydrated with COPD.” Retrieved from https://lunginstitute.com/blog/staying-hydrated-copd/

[9] American Lung Association. “Nutrition and COPD.” Retrieved from https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/copd/living-with-copd/nutrition

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