COPD Treatment

If you or a family member has recently been diagnosed with COPD, learning more about the treatment options that are available can help to ease your mind when it comes to thinking about how to live a relatively normal life.

Here is an overview of some of the most common COPD treatment options that are currently available!

woman and doctor

 

What Is COPD?

The term Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is used to generally describe a number of chronic lung diseases including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and chronic asthma. Difficulty breathing and excessive coughing are the most common symptoms of COPD, and you may also experience other respiratory symptoms.

Common COPD Treatment Options

There is no cure for COPD at this time. Here are some of the most common treatment options that your doctor may consider when determining the most effective options for managing your COPD.

Quitting Smoking

Smoking is a major cause of COPD, which means that quitting smoking can increase the success of any treatment options you pursue. Although this step is unlikely to get rid of COPD once the damage to your lungs has been done, it can help keep your symptoms from getting worse.

Short-Acting Bronchodilators

Short-acting bronchodilators are a type of inhaled medication that quickly relax your muscles to ease coughing, shortness of breath, and similar symptoms. These medications typically last 4-6 hours and work best if you have occasional symptoms or only need medication prior to exercising.

Long-Acting Bronchodilators

Long-acting bronchodilators provide many of the same benefits as short-acting bronchodilators, but their effects typically last for up to 12 hours. These inhaled medications are typically taken daily as a means of preventing ongoing symptoms.

Steroids

Certain types of steroids can help to minimize swelling in your airways, which can make breathing easier and help to minimize other severe symptoms. These medications can have significant side effects and should usually only be taken if other medications are not effective.

Phosphodiesterase-4 Inhibitor

Phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitors, such as roflumilast, are another type of medication that can help ease severe symptoms if you are not responding to other medications, and they can also be combined with other types of medications. These medications help reduce swelling and irritation in your lungs and airways.

Theophylline

Theophylline is a lower-cost alternative medication option that works similarly to short-acting bronchodilators and long-acting bronchodilators.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Pulmonary rehabilitation is a type of therapy that involves working with a range of professionals to help you make lifestyle changes that can help ease your COPD symptoms. You will generally work with at least one dietitian, respiratory therapist, physical therapist, and other medical professionals that will help you create plans for using breathing exercises, nutritional therapy, exercise, and other treatment options to decrease symptoms.

Breathing Exercises

Because COPD is primarily a breathing problem, certain breathing exercises can help to improve the functionality of your lungs. These exercises can be performed at home, and they can help you strengthen your lungs and boost your endurance.

Nutritional Therapy

Eating healthy food is always important, but it can also go a long way toward helping COPD patients manage their symptoms. Working with a dietitian can help you adjust your diet to meet current needs as far as losing or gaining weight and specific nutrients that can help you

Exercise

Like many other medical conditions, getting an adequate amount of exercise can go a long way toward easing your symptoms by strengthening your lungs and the muscles that are involved in breathing, as well as improving your overall health. However, it is important to keep in mind that not all types of exercise are appropriate for COPD patients and to work with your doctor to create an exercise plan that is safe and beneficial for you.

Oxygen Therapy

Oxygen therapy helps COPD patients get enough oxygen to breathe and maintain acceptable levels of oxygen in their blood if they are unable to get enough on their own. This type of therapy consists of breathing from a supplemental oxygen source such as an oxygen cylinder, portable oxygen concentrator, or larger at-home oxygen concentrator, which is capable of supplying patients with a higher concentration of oxygen than they are able to get through normal breathing.

Surgery

If you have severe COPD and you have not achieved results from any other treatment options, you may be a candidate for a lung transplant, lung volume reduction surgery, bullectomy, or other surgical treatment options. Surgery is relatively uncommon as a treatment for COPD, and it is generally reserved for the most severe cases that do not respond to other treatment options.

Learn more about X-PLOR oxygen concentrator.