Fighting COPD Fatigue

Woman with COPD holding her head

When learning more about COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and its signs and symptoms, there is a focus on shortness of breath, recurring respiratory infections, and frequent cough. But another common symptom of this chronic condition, that often receives less attention, is general fatigue.

COPD chronic fatigue symptoms may range from feeling tired to experiencing difficulty in performing routine tasks (e.g. shopping, playing with children, cooking, making the bed, etc.).

According to Medical News Today, the general causes of COPD fatigue may result from the following factors[1]:

  • Obstructed airways: COPD causes difficulty in regulating the transfer of oxygen into your lungs and sending carbon dioxide out. The result is a decrease in airflow and an increase in carbon dioxide, which can cause an individual to feel more tired.
  • Labored breathing: As breathing becomes more difficult, you may experience labored breathing that uses more energy and leaves you feeling exhausted.
  • Low activity: The more patients experience trouble breathing, the less likely they are to exert themselves or engage in activities that help build stamina.

Some pulmonologists have also suggested that common COPD fatigue may not be directly caused by the disease itself, but instead a result from other conditions that are related to the lung disease, such as obstructive sleep apnea, thyroid issues, and vitamin D deficiencies.[2]

Many people living with COPD often feel tired or lethargic as it takes more energy to breathe on their own. For loved ones, this can become especially challenging and disruptive to their daily routines, favorite hobbies, or quality time they spend with family and friends. Fortunately, there are some techniques to help combat fatigue and strengthen the body, so you can endure longer periods of activity without debilitating fatigue.

How to Conquer COPD Fatigue

In a previous topic, we shared the top 5 wellness tips for patients living with COPD, which included, among others:

  • Healthy eating to improve the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals your body needs for better airflow.[3]
  • Regular exercise to build stamina and healthy airflow throughout the body.[4]
  • Optimal hygiene to protect yourself from germs that can lead to respiratory infections that require hospitalization or long-term bed rest.[5]

Your doctor may also prescribe the use of oxygen therapy to support low oxygen levels and help you find relief from shortness of breath symptoms.[6]

Though these tips are helpful in supporting healthy oxygen flow, protecting your immune system, and boosting your energy level, having an effective airway clearance therapy like SmartVest is key to breathing easier and living more independently.

The SmartVest Airway Clearance System helps support your body in preventing mucus build up in your lungs that may cause recurring inflammation and infection. By performing therapy sessions regularly, as prescribed by your clinician, you’ll find long-term relief from chronic symptoms, including fatigue, so you can continue enjoying the activities you love and experience less tiredness in between.

Is Airway Clearance the Right Fit For You?

To learn more about how SmartVest can help you get back to feeling your best, request a free informational packet and chat online with our Patient Care Advocate via the chat icon on our website to see if SmartVest is a right fit for you.


[1] Medical News Today. “How to Cope with COPD Fatigue.” Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323064

[2] Cleveland Clinic. “COPD Can Be Relentless, So Fight Back.” Retrieved from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/copd-fatigue-can-be-relentless-so-fight-back/

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

[4] American Lung Association. “Physical Activity and COPD.” Retrieved from https://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/copd/living-with-copd/physical-activity.html

[5] American Lung Association. “Protecting Your Lungs.” Retrieved from https://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/copd/living-with-copd/protecting-your-lungs.html

[6] Medical News Today. “How to Cope with COPD Fatigue.” Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323064

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