Copd Treatment Smoking Transplant

COPD cannot be cured, but treatment strategies can reduce symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. COPD treatment may include medication, breathing exercises, and even lung transplant surgery.

Quit Smoking

If you can quit smoking you can slow the progression of COPD, and by doing so, increase your lifespan.Quit smoking. That is perhaps the single most effective treatment available to most COPD patients. If you can quit smoking you can slow the progression of COPD, and by doing so, increase your lifespan.

Of course, recommending quitting smoking is much easier than the actually quitting. You may need the support of friends and family to quit smoking. Many people find medical approaches, such as using nicotine replacement therapy, help them to quit. When you do decide to quit smoking, consider these tips:

  • Decide on when you’ll have your last cigarette. Tell friends and family when you’re going to quit.
  • Avoid any smoking environments.
  • Don’t allow yourself any access to cigarettes or tobacco products.

Physical Therapy and Breathing Exercises

Breathing exercises help people with COPD learn how to get the most air into their lungs, maximizing the amount of oxygen available. Pursed-lip breathing exercises, for instance, call for people to breathe in through their nose, and then to breathe slowly out through the mouth with the lips pursed, which helps empty the lungs.

Diaphragmatic breathing exercises teach how to breathe from the diaphragm, a breathing technique that fills the lungs effectively, and helps move stale air out of the lungs.

Low oxygen levels impair muscle strength. People with COPD are often quickly drained by physical activity. Strength and endurance therapy, especially for the arms, can help people stay active.

Oxygen Supplementation

Oxygen supplementation is needed if oxygen blood levels fall too low. People in this situation may find relief by breathing oxygen through a face mask. COPD caused by chronic bronchitis is more likely to require oxygen masks than emphysema-caused COPD.

Lung Transplant and Bullectomy

Severe COPD may be treated by a lung transplant. A lung transplant will restore breathing levels and drastically reduce symptoms. Unfortunately, there is a much greater demand for lung transplants than there are available donors. As a result, doctors will only consider lung transplants for patients who demonstrate a commitment to quit smoking and to avoid other conditions that cause COPD.

COPD-affected lungs often have large pockets of stale air that cannot be expelled from the lungs. A bullectomy removes these air pockets, reducing the size of the lung. This makes it easier to exhale while breathing.

Preventing Infections

COPD leaves people susceptible to lung infections and pneumonia. Annual flu shots and vaccinations can lower the risk of pneumonia. The new oral vaccine available for nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) should also be considered by people living with COPD.

Steroids and New Treatments

Inhaled steroids are used to treat asthma. The medical community has long been divided on whether steroids can also help alleviate COPD symptoms or not. New clinical evidence has proven that steroids are in fact a valid treatment for COPD, but maybe only in a minority of patients. Clinical trials now hope to determine which steroids work best, in which patients, and at what doses.

Other research has shown that resveratrol, a chemical found in red wine, may help reduce lung inflammation caused by COPD. Red Wine and Health offers more information on this discovery.

COPD Medication

  • antibiotics to fight infections
  • beta2-agonists to help open airways
  • bronchodilators to open airways and prevent bronchial spasms
  • expectorants to loosen mucus
  • diuretics to control water retention associated with COPD-caused heart disease.


Reuters Health. (2003, November 3). Steroids help diseased lungs breathe easier. Retrieved November 19, 2003, from