Treatment for COPD can help prevent flare-ups, slow the disease’s progression, and improve the person’s quality of life. A treatment plan may involve a combination of the following:
Inhaled medications, including bronchodilators and steroids, can ease symptoms.
Bronchodilators, such as albuterol, work by relaxing the muscles around the airways, opening them up.
Steroids, such as fluticasone, reduce inflammation in the lungs.
People with COPD may have decreased oxygen levels. Supplemental oxygen therapy may help improve these levels and ease shortness of breath.
Bilevel positive airway pressure (BIPAP) delivers pressure to the lungs, making breathing easier.
BIPAP may help relieve shortness of breath, boost oxygen levels, and remove carbon dioxide from the lungs.
Lifestyle changes may benefit people with COPD. For example, quitting smoking may slow the progression of the disease.
Changing the diet may also help. For example, overeating or eating foods that lead to gas can cause bloating, which can push against the diaphragm, increasing shortness of breath.
Some people with COPD may benefit from eating smaller meals and eating more frequently.
Also, it is important to keep immunizations up to date, such as those for the flu and pneumonia. This can reduce the risk of infections that can become severe in people with COPD.
Pulmonary rehabilitation classes combine education with a supervised exercise program.
Participants learn how to manage their lung disease. This may involve:
- tactics for identifying infection early
- strategies for conserving energy
- breathing exercises
The exercises involved can help relieve breathlessness and strengthen the heart and other muscles to improve daily functioning.
Also, a number of supplements may help with symptoms of COPD. Read about them here.
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