Copd Treatment

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) refers to a group of lung conditions that affect a person’s airways. The most common conditions associated with COPD include:

  • asthmatic bronchitis
  • chronic bronchitis
  • emphysema.

These and many other conditions can contribute to COPD. All cases of COPD involve an obstruction of some kind to the airways and air sacs of the lungs that makes it more difficult to breathe.

No cure currently exists for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. COPD can usually be prevented by not smoking or by quitting smoking, but once symptoms begin there is no way to be completely rid of the condition.

It could be possible to prevent COPD by wearing face masks in the presence of chemicals, pollutants or secondhand smoke. This is often necessary for workers who simply cannot avoid chemicals on a daily basis.

Symptoms of COPD may not appear until the disease is somewhat advanced. As treatment is more effective in early stages of COPD, it’s important to pay attention to any of these symptoms:

  • frequent coughing
  • frequent occurrence of respiratory infections
  • increased production of mucous
  • shortness of breath and wheezing
  • tightness in the chest.

Any of these may be an indicator of COPD, and it’s important to see a doctor for a diagnosis if you experience any of these. An early diagnosis can make treatment and symptom management more effective.

COPD treatment can include:

  • medications
  • oxygen therapy
  • quitting smoking
  • rehabilitation
  • surgery.

Medications can include anything from antibiotics, to bronchodilators, to steroids. Many new medications are also making their way into mainstream COPD treatment.

When surgery is used as a treatment, damaged lung tissue may be removed, or a lung transplant may be necessary.

Another important part of COPD treatment is managing exacerbations of the condition, which can be caused by a number of factors. Extra medication and rest may be necessary when the condition is exacerbated.

This section discusses all aspects of COPD treatment, including ways to cope when you’re living with COPD and new research on COPD treatment.

Living with COPD

Living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can be challenging, but there are a number of things a person can do to lessen symptoms. In addition to following whatever treatment course your doctor recommends, a number of self-care methods can help to control COPD symptoms:

  • avoiding smoke and pollutants
  • clearing airways of mucous by using a humidifier and drinking a lot of water
  • eating a healthy diet
  • exercising regularly if you are able
  • learning techniques for controlling breathing.

Sharing fears and responsibilities with family and friends, or even joining a support group, can also be helpful to those who are living with COPD.

Research and New Treatment

While chronic obstructive pulmonary disease has no cure, research is continually being done to discover new treatment options and learn more about the disease.

New medications are being incorporated into mainstream COPD treatment plans, and doctors continue to gain new information regularly from research and new treatment.

Resource

Mayo Clinic (2007). COPD Treatment. Retrieved August 27, 2007, from the Mayo Clinic Web site: http://mayoclinic.com/health/copd/DS00916/DSECTION=8.