- Understanding COPD
- COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) Quiz
- Energizing COPD Diet Foods
- COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) FAQs
- Patient Comments: COPD - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: COPD - Causes
- Patient Comments: COPD - Treatment
- Patient Comments: COPD - Experience
- Find a local Pulmonologist in your town
- COPD facts
- What is the definition of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)?
- What causes COPD?
- What are the signs and symptoms of COPD?
- What increases your risk for developing COPD?
- What are the four stages of COPD?
- What other diseases or conditions contribute to COPD?
- What kind of doctor treats COPD?
- When to Seek Medical Care for COPD
- How is COPD diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for COPD?
- What lifestyle changes (diet, exercise) and home remedies and care are recommended for people with COPD?
- What medications treat COPD?
- What other supplemental therapies help treat COPD complications and symptoms?
- What surgery is available to treat COPD?
- Can COPD be prevented?
- What is the prognosis for a person with COPD?
Quick GuideCOPD Lung Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment
What is the treatment for COPD?
There are many treatments for COPD. The first and best is to stop smoking immediately.
Medical treatments of COPD include beta-2 agonists and anticholinergic agents (bronchodilators), steroids, mucolytic agents, oxygen therapy, and surgical procedures such as bullectomy, lung volume reduction surgery, and lung transplantation.
The treatments are often based on the stage of COPD, for example:
- Stage I - short-acting bronchodilator as needed
- Stage II - short-acting bronchodilator as needed and long-acting bronchodilators plus cardiopulmonary rehabilitation
- Stage III short-acting bronchodilator as needed long-acting bronchodilators cardiopulmonary rehabilitation and inhaled glucocorticoids for repeated exacerbations
- Stage IV – as needed long-acting bronchodilators, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, inhaled glucocorticoids, long-term oxygen therapy, possible lung volume reduction surgery and possible lung transplantation (stage IV has been termed "end-stage" COPD)
The three major goals of the comprehensive treatment of COPD are as follows:
- Lessen airflow limitation
- Prevent and treat secondary medical complications (for example, hypoxemia, infection)
- Decrease respiratory symptoms and improve quality of life
Acute exacerbation of COPD is one of the major reasons for hospital admission in the United States.
The patient may need to be hospitalized if they develop severe respiratory dysfunction, if the disease progresses, or if they have other serious respiratory diseases (for example, pneumonia, acute bronchitis). The purpose of hospitalization is to treat symptoms and to prevent further deterioration.
The patient may be admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) if they require invasive or noninvasive mechanical ventilation or if they have the following symptoms:
- Respiratory muscle fatigue
- Worsening hypoxemia (not enough oxygen in the blood)
- Respiratory acidosis (retention of carbon dioxide in the blood)