With the technology available today, doctors have no way of reversing the lung damage involved in COPD. It is classified as a progressive disease, so treatment simply involves slowing the progress of the disease and improving the quality of life of patients. There is no treatment that can cure COPD.
The treatments available to patients have advanced greatly, and while the damaged tissues cannot be healed, the function of the lungs can be improved. This allows patients to have more active lifestyles, which greatly improves their overall quality of life.
A doctor treating a patient with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) will be attempting to accomplish the following objectives:
Slow down, or hopefully, completely halt the advancement of the condition. This is essential to prevent further irreversible lung damage.
- Improving lung function.
- Prevent the symptoms from worsening and if possible, reduce them.
- Help the patient increase their overall quality of life.
Among the many things that people suffering from COPD need to do is to stop smoking. This is extremely important, as COPD is mainly caused by smoking, and continuing will inevitably worsen the condition. Nearly everyone who suffers from this disease has been a smoker at some point in their lives.
The specific treatment for COPD that a doctor will recommend depends on several factors, such as age of the patient, severity of symptoms and the specific diagnosis involved. The treatments available are discussed below.
Medications Used in the Treatment for COPD
- With both short-acting and long-acting types available, this medication helps by expanding the air passages, improving air flow. They do this by acting on the nervous system.
- For an even more effective treatment combination bronchodilators can take advantage of both antichholinergic and short-acting beta2-agonists. These can however cause bronchitis, infections and headaches so need to be used with care.
- These steroids work by reducing the swelling of the airways, which improves air flow.
Treatment for COPD: Non-Medicinal Therapies
Flu and Pneumonia Prevention
- Due to the weakened state of the lungs, such diseases can be extremely serious to people suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Doctors will try to minimize this risk as much as they can to avoid the severe discomfort and potential risks involved.
- Many measures can be taken to help retrain the lungs to improve their function. Among the most obvious are aerobic exercise and nutritional changes, but treatment also includes training in the management of the disease and psychological therapy.
- Once the disease reaches its more advanced stages, there may be a need to supply the patient with extra medical oxygen as part of treatment.
- If the condition becomes severe, there are surgical options that can be explored as a last resort. These include transplants, bullectomy (the removal of large air spaces in the lung) and LVRS (the removal of damaged lung tissues).
Treatment for COPD: Conclusion
While all these treatments are helping COPD sufferers to live longer and better lives than before, the number of people suffering with this condition is still growing. Smoking is the primary cause of COPD, so quitting immediately is recommended for those beginning to show symptoms or hoping to avoid COPD altogether.