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Treatment for COPD

Your healthcare provider will prescribe the best treatments for your COPD.


Recommendations include:

  • Medicines. Some medicines help ease symptoms when you have them. Others are taken daily to control lung inflammation. Always take your medicines as prescribed. Learn the names of your medicines, as well as how and when to use them. Talk with your provider about other conditions you have and the medicines you take. When using a metered dose inhaler or nebulizer, always use the correct techniques. If you have any questions about how to use your medicine delivery system, contact your healthcare provider or refer to the user manual of the device.

  • Tests. To monitor COPD risks, your provider may advise a blood test or sputum test for eosinophil count, or bronchodilator reversibility testing.

  • Surgery. Your healthcare provider may advise that you have a lung volume reduction surgery, a bullectomy, or a lung transplant.

  • Oxygen therapy. Oxygen may be prescribed if tests show that your blood contains too little oxygen. Ask about long-term oxygen therapy with your healthcare provider.

  • Smoking. If you smoke, quit. Smoking is the main cause of COPD. Quitting will help you be able to better manage your COPD. Ask your healthcare provider about ways to help you quit smoking, including e-cigarettes.

  • Not getting infections. Infections such as a cold or the flu can cause your symptoms to get worse. Try to stay away from people who are sick. Wash your hands often. And ask your healthcare provider about vaccines for the flu and pneumonia.

Coping with shortness of breath

Coping tips include:

  • Exercise. Be as active as you can. This will help your energy and strengthen your muscles, so you can do more.

  • Breathing methods. Ask your healthcare provider or nurse to show you how to do pursed-lip breathing.

  • Balance rest and activity. Try to balance rest with activity. For example, you might start the day with getting dressed and eating breakfast. Then you can relax and read the paper. After that, take a brief walk. And then sit with your feet up for a while.

  • Pulmonary rehab.  These programs help manage your disease, breathing methods, exercise, support, and counseling. To find one, ask your provider or call your local hospital. Also, talk with your healthcare provider about a self-management program.

  • Healthy eating. Eating a healthy, balanced diet is important to staying as healthy as possible. So is trying to stay at your ideal weight. Make sure you have a lot of fruits and vegetables every day. And also eat balanced portions of whole grains, lean meats and fish, and low-fat dairy products.

Online Medical Reviewer: Alan J Blaivas DO
Online Medical Reviewer: Daphne Pierce-Smith RN MSN CCRC
Online Medical Reviewer: Wanda Taylor RN PhD
Date Last Reviewed: 8/1/2018
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