About Dr. Monica Kraft
Dr. Monica Kraft is a physician-scientist, educator, and clinician who has contributed to healthcare systems and research for over 25 years. Dr. Kraft is internationally known and specializes in clinical and transitional research in airway disease. Previously, Dr. Monica Kraft served institutions such as the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Tucson as a professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine, as well as Duke University as the Director of the Duke Asthma Allergy and Airway Center. Today, Dr. Kraft is a professor of medicine and System Chair, Department of Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, overseeing research, clinical, and educational programs for the Department of Medicine over eight hospitals.
Dr. Kraft’s career is underlined by a long history of working on asthma and airway disease, along with her profound interest in helping develop innovative treatment options for patients with conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, complex airway disease, and asthma. To this end, Dr. Monica Kraft has contributed greatly to adult asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease research, heavily impacted airway biology concepts and treatment frameworks, served in several professional medical organizations, and accumulated various awards and accolades in recognition of her work.
Dr. Monica Kraft, Formerly of Duke University and the University of Arizona Explores Living With COPD
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic lower respiratory disease that currently affects almost 15.7 million Americans, with many more who are unaware that they have the condition.
Dr. Monica Kraft finds that some patients may believe their working or social lives are over after being diagnosed with COPD, but that is far from the truth. In addition to medications, there are dozens of ways for patients to manage their condition and lead healthier lives.
Below are a few of the most frequently cited ways that patients living with COPD can make lifestyle changes to help them maintain a positive quality of life.
If you smoke and have COPD, quitting can be the most impactful lifestyle change for managing the symptoms and improving overall health. Dr. Kraft is aware that for those who are addicted to nicotine quitting is no easy task. Still, she maintains that there are many ways that patients can build towards quitting smoking for good, with group programs, counseling, medications, the latter including nicotine replacement therapy, standing out as some of the most common examples.
Changing Your Diet
We all know that diet plays an important role in our health, but many do not know that COPD adds another layer to this — patients may be able to help themselves breathe better with simple diet changes. Doctors suggest that patients with COPD try to limit their sugar intake, avoid trans fats, limit salts, include protein sources within their meals, and try to avoid foods that produce a lot of gas. Depending on the severity of COPD, eating several small meals over the course of the day is a better strategy than large meals. The way that foods impact us can depend heavily from individual to individual, though, so collaborating with a physician and a nutritionist can help patients figure out meal plans that best take their needs into account.
Exercise is important for all adults, with most doctors recommending at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity per week. For patients with COPD, keeping active can be extremely helpful for improving one’s breathing, overall fitness, and quality of life. Dr. Monica Kraft, formerly of Duke University and the University of Arizona, mentions that some COPD patients are tempted to avoid exercising because it can cause them to experience shortness of breath and fatigue. However, finding the “sweet spot” of physical activity is critical. Patients who have stable COPD can benefit immensely from speaking to their doctors about an exercise plan that considers the amount and vigorousness of activity for which they should strive to improve cardiovascular and overall health. One effective way to achieve exercise goals is to engage in pulmonary rehabilitation.
Exercising Your Lungs
Pulmonary rehabilitation is an excellent tool for patients with COPD, as it empowers them to combat symptoms by exercising their lungs. Experts in pulmonary rehabilitation can help patients learn how to control and improve their breathing through various exercises. A couple of the most well-known pulmonary exercises are breathing through pursed lips and taking slow, deep breaths by drawing from your lower abdomen. Breathing techniques help manage symptoms by teaching patients how to move air in and out of their lungs more effectively and extensively, decreasing shortness of breath.
Taking Care of Your Mental Health
Depression, anxiety, and stress can exacerbate symptoms of COPD, which makes addressing these issues important if you would like to better manage COPD overall. Dr. Monica Kraft finds that one way patients can work to take care of their mental health is by connecting with others who also have the condition and understanding the challenges associated with it. Support groups for COPD and related health conditions can be very helpful for learning more about maintaining one’s quality of life, overcoming feelings of stress, and getting tips from others who also have first-hand experience with the condition.
Making Changes in Your Household
We all strive to live comfortable home lives, and making sure that the home is COPD-friendly can drastically improve patients’ quality of life. For example, Healthline addresses COPD-friendly homes in an article that includes a variety of ways that patients can build a more breathable home for themselves. Simple solutions include: using a shower chair, getting a portable oxygen tank as well as a concentrator, focusing on one floor in the home if possible, installing an effective HVAC system and air purifier, inspecting air ducts regularly, avoiding smoking in the home, and reducing pollutants trapped in carpets with a HEPA-filtered vacuum cleaner. These interventions can go a long way toward contributing to a more COPD-friendly space.
More from MonicaKraftDukeSettlement.org
Dr. Monica Kraft, formerly of Duke University and the University of Arizona, is a proponent of helping patients, researchers, and healthcare professionals learn more about airway diseases, pulmonary conditions, asthma, and more. That being said, future posts will include informative resources that break down key concepts linked to Dr. Kraft’s areas of expertise.
Interested in insights inspired by the career experiences, research, and areas of expertise of Dr. Monica Kraft? Tune in to Monica Kraft Duke Settlment.org for resources exploring:
- Airway Disease, Asthma, and Pulmonary Conditions
- Healthcare Insights