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COPD Test and Treatment Types and Categories

WebMD Medical Reference from the COPD Foundation


Many parts of a treatment plan are the same for all individuals with COPD. The following outline shows general categories of a treatment plan. It is a sample outline.

Diagnostic Testing

  • Pulmonary Function Tests
    • Spirometry
    • More complete testing including lung volumes and diffusing capacity
    • Pulse oximetry and/or arterial blood gases
  • Other lab tests
    • Blood chemistry, kidney and liver function tests (LFTs), Complete Blood Count (CBC)
    • Alpha-1 Antitrypsin blood level (a one-time test recommended for all individuals with (COPD)
  • Exercise testing
  • Diagnostic imaging (radiology)


  • Medicines
  • Shots
  • Smoking cessation
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation
  • Diet and nutrition
  • Oxygen


  • Detailed discussion of COPD
  • Potential referral for supportive/family counseling
  • Detailed discussion of risk factors and avoidance strategies
  • Genetic counseling and consideration of family testing if found to have Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency


  • Schedule routine office visits
  • Repeat testing at specified intervals
  • Report changes in health status to health care provider

If you have mild obstructive lung disease, your treatment plan may be as simple as avoiding cigarettes and cigarette smoke as well as other lung irritants. It may include maintaining an active lifestyle and scheduling routine follow-up doctor visits. Others with more severe symptoms may need a more complex plan that changes over time. In every situation a treatment plan helps you manage your health and determine how well your treatments are working.

The most important first step for preventing and treating COPD is stopping smoking or "smoking cessation". If you are still smoking cigarettes or spend time where there is a lot of second-hand smoke, stopping this should be your number one priority! There are new medicines that are very effective in helping you to stop smoking.

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