COPD Treatment Options

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a debilitating and devastating disease. Many people who suffer from COPD are disabled, and the disease has been linked to several other medical conditions like heart disease, hypertension and congestive heart failure. COPD is a progressive disease, and there is no known cure for it. Detection is one of the biggest issues in the identification of patients who may have COPD. One of the reasons for this is because many people who have been stricken with COPD, don’t have any idea they have it. People who have a history of conditions like asthma and upper respiratory disorders generally disregard their symptoms of COPD as symptoms relating to their asthma or other respiratory condition. Even though there is no known cure for COPD, there are treatment options available to help manage the effects of the disease. Three of the top COPD treatment options include: pulmonary rehabilitation, medications and oxygen therapy. There are also new and emerging treatments that patients can discuss with their doctors, some of which are changing how patients are treated. Consider these questions when pursuing the top COPD treatment options.

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Frequently Asked Questions ( 10 )   Add a Question

  1. Why are there so many people living with COPD who aren’t aware they have it?
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    Many of the symptoms manifested by COPD resemble those of other medical disorders. As with any other medical condition, education and understanding the early warning signs of COPD would go a long way in being able to make an early diagnosis. Often times, people are not diagnosed with COPD until the disease is in its final stages.

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  2. Who is susceptible to getting COPD?
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    The majority of the people who are diagnosed with COPD are those who have smoked cigarettes in the past. Current smokers are also at risk for developing this disease. People who live with a smoker are also at risk of developing COPD at some point in their lives. People who are exposed to other substances known to irritate the lungs, like fumes from chemicals, dust, and other environmental air pollutants are also at risk.

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  3. How prevalent are cases of COPD in the United States?
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    It is estimated that there are approximately 12 to 24 million people living with COPD. This number accounts for the number of people who have been diagnosed with the disease, and the countless others who have COPD but are unaware that they have it. COPD is one of the largest health concerns for medical practitioners in the United states, as COPD is the third leading cause of death in the country.
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  4. How are new treatments helping COPD patients?
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    Developments in COPD research is already paying off with new options. One of the newest treatment breakthroughs is a class of drug known as phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitors. This drug class can reduce the frequency of COPD flares, and it is already available in inhaler form as Roflumilast. Scientists are currently working on new drugs that can reduce the inflammation caused by COPD. These drugs are already changing how people with COPD are treated.

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  5. What other new treatments could soon start helping patients?
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    Other new treatments coming soon for COPD patients include soluble epoxide hydrolase inhibitors, which ease tobacco-related inflammation. Another upcoming drug class is selective glucocorticoid receptor modulators, which help currently used steroids work better with fewer side effects. Doctors are also experimenting with stem cell therapy as a means to repair lung tissues damaged by COPD.

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  6. Is surgery an option for people who have COPD?
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    There are surgical options available for people who have COPD, however, surgical intervention is only beneficial in a very small number of people with the disease. Moreover, surgical intervention is only recommended in the most severe circumstances. There are three types of procedures available for these types of cases, a bullectomy, lung volume reduction surgery and lung transplants.
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  7. What is Oxygen Therapy?
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    When a person is unable to breathe due to a diminished supply of oxygen, a physician may order oxygen to be rendered through a device to aid the person with their breathing. Over the years these devices have become more portable and compact, making it possible for patients with COPD and other lung diseases to live as close to a normal life as possible. Oxygen may be ordered by a physician on an around the clock basis, or ordered only when there is strenuous activity or during sleep.
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  8. What is pulmonary rehabilitation?
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    Pulmonary rehabilitation may consist of one or more activities, including education in regards to how to manage the symptoms related to COPD, psychological and nutritional counseling, and exercise. One of the most important things anyone can do after they have been diagnosed with COPD is to remain as active as they can. Generally pulmonary rehabilitation requires a real commitment form the person living with COPD, and the involvement of physicians and other specialists.
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  9. What are some of the symptoms associated with COPD?
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    Shortness of breath during normal activity is one of the first things people should pay attention to. Another symptom related to COPD is the presence of a cough that will not go away. Anyone who is coughing and expelling large amounts of mucus or sputum should check the beds of their fingernails and their lips for a bluish tint or color, as this is also an early sign of COPD. Frequent recurring respiratory infections and fatigue are also signs of COPD.
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  10. What are some of the medications used to treat COPD?
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    Most people who suffer with COPD tend to have a certain amount of anxiety relating to their inability to obtain enough air. A class of medications called Anxiolytics or Anti-anxiety medications like Paroxetine are often prescribed. Because there is a lot of tissue irritation and swelling associated with COPD steroids like prednisone are also prescribed. Other medications associated with the treatment of COPD include bronchodilators, antibiotics, and smoking cessation medicines.

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