Many people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) experience severe fatigue that can limit their ability to perform daily activities. A 2021 review found fatigue was a symptom of COPD in 17–95% of people, depending on the study.

Researchers don’t know why severe fatigue affects people with COPD, but there’s a significant association with airflow limitation. As COPD can cause you to have less oxygen coming into the body, you might experience greater amounts of fatigue.

If you have COPD, you may need to find new ways to do daily tasks that require less energy. Often, making simple changes consistently can help conserve energy.

There’s research to back that up. A 2020 study found that implementing strategies from a 2-week energy conservation training program reduced the energy expenditure of people with COPD on daily tasks. Assistive devices, good breathing techniques, and ergonomics were all part of the program.

This room-by-room home tour can help you identify ways to modify activities of daily living so you can conserve your energy. For people with COPD, this may mean avoiding reaching, lifting, and bending, as well as finding easier ways to perform tasks.

If you have COPD, performing daily tasks such as dressing or cooking can leave you feeling fatigued and breathless. Finding ways to make these tasks easier can help you conserve your energy.

Getting regular physical activity can also help with fighting fatigue and improving shortness of breath. But it’s important not to overdo it. A pulmonary rehabilitation program can help you find ways to stay active and perform daily tasks with less breathlessness.