You can learn to control this disease instead of letting it control you.
Although COPD is not curable, the symptoms are treatable and your quality of
life can maintained or even improved. It is possible to feel better, stay
active, and slow the progression of the disease
Since the disease COPD is not curable, the primary goals of treatment are:
- Improve basic capabilities
- Preserve the best lung function
- Reduce or minimize exacerbations I
- Improve exercise tolerance
- Relieve symptoms
- Slow the progress of the disease
- Improve the quality of life
Any treatment plan involves 2 broad areas - one part totally controlled by
you, with the other involving your medical team.
The lifestyle part of your plan should include:
- Quitting smoking (Most important of all)
- Staying active (exercising)
- Avoiding triggers which can aggravate lungs bringing on exacerbations
- Educating yourself on all aspects of the disease
- Learning breathing techniques
- Learning pacing - including resting as needed
- Good diet
- The muscles used in breathing may burn up to 10 times more calories for
a person of average weight with COPD than for a person without COPD. For
overweight persons, the heart and lungs have to work harder to breathe
properly, while underweight people are more susceptible to complications
from illnesses, as well as having less reserves in the event of a long term
The medical part of your plan may include:
Medicines are used to control your symptoms. Not everyone with COPD takes the
same medication, and most people need to take more than one type of medication.
The many different COPD medications come in many forms: pills, vapors, powder,
liquids, and injections. They are basically very safe, however like most
medications, there are side effects which can occur and vary depending on the
medication and dose. The way the body responds to medications often changes over
the long term creating the need for evaluation and changes.
- Bronchodilators, medicines that relax (dilate) the airways of the lungs
(bronchial tubes), are usually given through metered dose inhalers (MDIs) or
dry powder inhalers (DPIs). The fine mist from the inhaler is breathed in
through the mouth and into the lungs. This is the preferred method both for
its convenience and their lessened side effects.
- Antibiotic treatment during exacerbations of COPD caused by a bacterial
infection is usually prescribed to minimize additional damage from infections.
- There also is some research underway on using low level antibiotics on a
Long-term oxygen treatment may improve your quality of life. It can help
you live longer when you have severe COPD and low oxygen levels. You may
notice less shortness of breath and have more energy. In addition to helping
increase exercise capabilities, sufficient levels of oxygen are critical for
protecting vital organs such as the heart, brain, kidneys and liver.
Pulmonary rehabilitation for COPD includes a program of exercises that
helps people build their physical fitness. Many pulmonary rehab centers also
teach people breathing techniques and strategies for living better with COPD
- Lung volume reduction surgery removes damaged parts of one or both lungs,
making room for the remaining good lung tissue to work better.
- Several Non Surgical lung reduction methods are currently in trials.
- Lung transplant replaces either one or both diseased lungs with a living
lung(s) from a recently deceased person.
- Bullectomy removes bullae from the lungs in those who mainly have
emphysema. Bullae are formed when the tiny air sacs in the lungs break into
larger air spaces, and can become large enough to interfere with normal