How do I Choose the Best Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Treatment?

M. West

If you suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), first and foremost, doctors recommend that you stop smoking and avoid places where you will encounter secondhand smoke. Medications are available that will control the symptoms of COPD, but they don't slow the progressive deterioration of lung function. Other options include surgical remediation, oxygen therapy and pulmonary rehabilitation programs. Lifestyle practices such as exercise and a healthy diet can help. Alternative medicine measures such as supplements, herbs, acupuncture and relaxation techniques might be beneficial as well.

Oxygen therapy can help people with COPD, especially as the disease progresses.
Oxygen therapy can help people with COPD, especially as the disease progresses.

Nicotine replacement products and certain medications might assist those who have difficulty quitting smoking. Although medications for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease treatment won't heal damaged lung tissue or affect the rate of deterioration, they can minimize risks of complications and enhance the ability to engage in an active lifestyle. Antibiotics can be prescribed for respiratory infections, because they can make the symptoms of COPD worse. Bronchodilators might provide symptomatic relief, and steroids might be useful for those in advanced stages of the disease.

A humidifier might help clear mucus from the lungs of someone with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
A humidifier might help clear mucus from the lungs of someone with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Lung volume reduction surgery might be a choice for some with severe emphysema. This procedure consists of removing small pieces of damaged lung in order to make more space for respiration. This surgery is risky, and long-term results haven't proved it to be an advantage over nonsurgical intervention. Another chronic obstructive pulmonary disease treatment is a lung transplant. This should only be considered for selected, severe cases, and evidence proving that it prolongs life is lacking.

A lung transplant is the only way to cure COPD, but has a number of risks.
A lung transplant is the only way to cure COPD, but has a number of risks.

Oxygen therapy can enable patients to engage in more activities and, in some cases, can even prolong their life. Pulmonary rehabilitation can increase your exercise and activity tolerance and enhance your quality of life. A change in temperature, exposure to environmental pollutants or an infection might trigger a sudden worsening of your condition. When this happens, seek medical attention immediately.

Lifestyle practices can be a part of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease treatment. A respiratory therapist and physician can teach you relaxation techniques and breathing positions to employ when you experience shortness of breath. The use of a humidifier, drinking plenty of water and volitional coughing might help you clear your lungs of mucus. Exercise can build up muscles involved in breathing and can increase endurance. Seek treatment for chronic heartburn, because certain forms of this ailment can aggravate COPD.

Acupuncture is an alternative medicine modality that can augment traditional chronic obstructive pulmonary disease treatment. Nutritional supplements such as N-acetylecysteine, magnesium and L-carnitine might be helpful but should be taken only under the supervision of a healthcare practitioner. Almost any supplement can have side effects and interfere with some medications, so check with your doctor before taking them.

Patients who smoke should quit in order to reduce their risk of obstructive pulmonary disease.
Patients who smoke should quit in order to reduce their risk of obstructive pulmonary disease.

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