Reducing Risk

In order to reduce your risk from COPD, it is recommended to avoid inhaling tobacco smoke, limit exposure to outdoor air pollution, use air cleaners/purifiers to reduce home and workplace air pollutant, and avoid respiratory infections.

Early detection of COPD can change the progress of the disease. If you suffer from difficulty breathing and/or have a persistent cough, you should see a doctor and seek a lunch function test.

Treatment

Currently there is no cure for COPD, but there are ways to relieve symptoms and keep the disease from getting worse. Treatments for COPD can reduce the severity of symptoms, decrease the frequency and severity of exacerbations, and increase tolerance to exercise.

Medications - Symptoms such as coughing or wheezing can be treated with medication. 

Pulmonary Rehabilitation - Pulmonary rehabilitation is an individualized treatment program that teaches COPD patients strategies to improve their quality of life. The rehabilitation may include:

  • Exercises to increase lung capacity 
  • Nutritional counseling 
  • Breathing strategies
  • Energy-conserving techniques
  • Education on your lung disease or condition and how to manage it
  • Psychological counseling

While pulmonary rehabilitation can not cure COPD or completely relieve breathing problem, It has been shown to improve a patient's quality of life, help them function better throughout the day, increase their ability to exercise, decreases their symptoms by reducing their breathing problems, and helps them manage their anxiety and depression. 

Vaccinations - Since lung infections can lead to significant problems in COPD patients, it is very important for those with COPD to get vaccinated for the flu and pneumonia. The centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide provides recommendations about vaccinations for those lung diseases here.

Antibiotics - Those with respiratory infections should be treated with antibiotics, if appropriate.

Oxygen - Patients who have low blood oxygen levels are often given supplemental oxygen.