Even with treatment, COPD often becomes progressively worse. The only treatment to slow the progression of COPD is stopping smoking. Lung function deteriorates with age, and it happens much faster if you're a smoker.
Your doctor may prescribe medications called short-acting bronchodilators, including salbutamol*, ipratropium bromide, or a combination of the two, which relax and widen the bronchi and help relieve shortness of breath.
If symptoms are persistent, treatment with long-acting bronchodilators such as tiotropium, salmeterol, or formoterol can be added. If there is any inflammation present (not as common in COPD as in asthma), your doctor may suggest that you try inhaled or oral corticosteroids to help with breathing.
There are also medications available that combine long-acting bronchodilators with inhaled corticosteroids. Your doctor may also prescribe antibiotics for you to keep at home in case a bacterial lung infection develops.
Since influenza (the flu) may make COPD symptoms worse and can lead to respiratory failure, it is recommended that people with COPD receive the annual flu vaccine. Some people with COPD may also benefit from receiving a pneumococcal vaccine to lower their risk of getting pneumonia (lung infection), which can also lead to complications. Talk to your doctor about receiving these vaccines.
Inhaling oxygen from oxygen cylinders or an oxygen concentrator for least 15 hours a day may also be helpful for some people with COPD. Finally, drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day can help loosen phlegm buildup.
Exercise with or without a formal physiotherapy program can improve a person's quality of life and activities. A healthy nutritional intake is important, as weight loss due to the increased work of breathing presents a serious sign of advancing COPD. Lung reduction surgery or lung transplantation can also be considered in extreme cases.
*All medications have both common (generic) and brand names. The brand name is what a specific manufacturer calls the product (e.g., Tylenol®). The common name is the medical name for the medication (e.g., acetaminophen). A medication may have many brand names, but only one common name. This article lists medications by their common names. For information on a given medication, check our Drug Information database. For more information on brand names, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2017. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/condition/getcondition/COPD-Chronic-Obstructive-Pulmonary-Disease