Health & Fitness

How is COPD treated?

Treatment of COPD requires a careful and thorough exam by a doctor. Quitting smoking is the most important first step you can take to treat COPD. Avoiding secondhand smoke also is critical.

For people with COPD who have trouble eating because of shortness of breath or being tired, treatment may include:

▪ Following a special meal plan with smaller, more frequent meals.

▪ Resting before eating.

▪ Taking vitamins and nutritional supplements.

A broad program that helps improve the well-being of people who have chronic breathing problems may include:

▪ Exercise training.

▪ Nutritional counseling.

▪ Education on your lung disease or condition and how to manage it.

▪ Energy-conserving techniques.

▪ Breathing strategies.

▪ Psychological counseling and/or group support.

Medicines may include:

▪ A bronchodilator to relax the muscles around the airways. This helps open airways and makes breathing easier. Most bronchodilators are taken with a device called an inhaler.

▪ A steroid drug you inhale to reduce swelling in the airways.

▪ Antibiotics to treat respiratory infections, if appropriate.

▪ A vaccination during flu season.

Oxygen therapy can help people who have severe COPD and low levels of oxygen in their blood to breathe better.

Surgery for people who have severe symptoms that have not improved with other treatments could include:

▪ Lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS): Surgery to remove diseased parts of the lung so healthier lung tissue can work better. LVRS is not a cure for COPD.

▪ A lung transplant: Surgery in which one or two healthy lungs from a donor are put in the patient’s body to replace diseased lungs. A lung transplant is a last resort.

Even though there is no cure for COPD, these lifestyle changes and treatments can help you breathe easier, stay more active and slow the progress of the disease.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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