Roger, 52, recently visited his doctor complaining of a shortness of breath and an ongoing cough. Believing that what he was feeling was just a small case of the flu, Roger went to his doctor for a quick checkup. Upon taking a spirometry test, Roger’s doctor discovered that he was in fact experiencing a severe case of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Faced with overwhelming questions, Roger started with the most common question of all: what is the treatment for COPD?
Most Common Treatment for COPD
Take a deep breath and relax. Figuring out how to treat your COPD is going to be a lengthy discussion between you and your doctor. COPD has no cure yet. However, lifestyle changes and treatments can help you feel better, stay more active and slow the progress of the disease. To assist with your treatment, your doctor may advise you to see a pulmonologist, a doctor who specializes in treating lung disorders.
Some lifestyle changes that you can do can include: quitting smoking, avoid secondhand smoke and other chemical irritants, eating healthy and exercising can help improve your quality of life. Talk to your doctor about these simple changes and how it can help with your COPD.
If you suffer from COPD, then there are several treatments/medications that might help relieve the symptoms of the condition. Here are a few types of treatment for COPD:
- Bronchodilators – This treatment relaxes the muscles around your airways. This helps open your airways and makes breathing much easier. Most bronchodilators are taken using a device called an inhaler. This device allows the medicine to go straight to your lungs. Not all inhalers are used the same way. Ask your health care team to show you the correct way to use your inhaler.
- Inhaled Steroids – If you have a more severe case of COPD, or if your symptoms are constantly flaring up, then steroids may help reduce the airway inflammation.
- Flu and Pneumonia Vaccines – The flu (influenza) can cause serious problems for people who have COPD. Flu shots can reduce your risk of getting the flu. Talk with your doctor about getting a yearly flu shot. People who have COPD are at higher risk for pneumonia than people who don’t have COPD. Getting a pneumonia shot will lower your chances of infection.
- Oxygen – If you suffer from a severe case of COPD, a doctor might recommend that you use oxygen therapy to help you breathe better. This treatment is done by processing oxygen through nasal prongs or a mask. Most patients use this form of treatment to breathe easier.
- Stem Cell Therapy – Stem cells have the ability to self-renew indefinitely, meaning they have the capability to divide many times and specialize to promote the healing of organs while still sustaining the original undifferentiated cell. This technique is currently being utilized to treatment various lung diseases.
By the Numbers…
According to the American Lung Association, COPD is the third leading cause of death in America, claiming the lives of 134,676 Americans alone in 2010. This number has steadily risen over the years. Smoking is the primary risk factor for COPD, with approximately 80 percent of COPD deaths being caused by smoking. Other risk factors include exposure to air pollution, secondhand smoke, occupational dusts and chemicals or a history of respiratory infections.
A Lung Association survey revealed that half of all COPD patients (51 percent) say their condition limits their ability to work. It also limits them in normal physical exertion (70 percent), household chores (56 percent), social activities (53 percent), sleeping (50 percent) and family activities (46 percent).
Don’t just be another number, call or visit your doctor today if you have COPD or suspect that you may have it. There are different options available to help relieve the symptoms. If you are interested in learning more about stem cell therapy, contact us at the Lung Institute for more information or call (800) 729-3065 today.