How is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) treated?

In the beginning stages of COPD, there is minimal shortness of breath that might be noticed only during exercise. As the disease progresses, shortness of breath might worsen, and you might need to wear an oxygen device, and blood oxygen levels might drop, causing you to need to wear an oxygen device.

To help control other symptoms of COPD, the following treatments and lifestyle changes might be prescribed:

  • Quitting smoking
  • Avoiding irritants such as smoke from cigarettes and other sources, fumes, aerosolized products, insecticides, cleaning products, mold, dust, and mildew.
  • Taking medications including:
  • Bronchodilators
  • Anti-inflammatory agents
  • Oxygen
  • Antibiotics
  • Maintaining a healthy diet
  • Following a structured exercise program
  • Getting an intravenous infusion of an AAT preparation
  • Preventing respiratory infections
  • Controlling stress

If your COPD progresses, you might be eligible to be evaluated for lung volume reduction surgery or lung transplantation. Your doctor might also suggest that you enroll in a pulmonary rehabilitation program.

You might also be eligible to participate in certain clinical trials (research studies). Ask your health care providers about studies being conducted in your hospital.

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