COPD, otherwise known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, affects an estimated 16.4 million people in the US. It is the third leading cause of death in the States – but when it is caught early, there are plenty of ways to effectively treat and manage the disease.
It’s important to know that COPD is currently chronic, so no matter what treatment you receive for the disease, it will never fully go away. With that said, there is no reason to live uncomfortably or painfully with COPD. You should focus your treatment plan on prolonging your life, preventing flare-ups, and staying as physically and mentally healthy as you can.
The most common treatments for COPD, and methods of reducing COPD symptoms, include the following:
1. Medication such as Bronchodilators
Bronchodilators are usually administered through an inhaler. Their role is to relax the muscles in your airways, helping air to reach your lungs more easily. When you use your inhaler, it will deliver the medication straight to your lungs, which will help you to benefit the most from the drugs.
There are two types of bronchodilators available: short-acting and long-acting bronchodilators. Short-acting bronchodilators are designed for maximum use of 4 times per day, and can be used when you feel breathless. Long-acting bronchodilators, as the name suggests, can benefit your lungs for longer, so you only need to use them once or twice a day.
2. Taking Tablets
In some circumstances, inhalers might not be effective enough to deliver the medication you need. In this case, your doctor might prescribe you with tablets for reducing the swelling in your airways, as well as medication for treating your cough and loss of energy, when appropriate.
3. Oxygen Therapy
If your COPD prevents you from absorbing the right amount of oxygen into your bloodstream, you can use oxy