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COPD Treatments Plans: Working With Your Doctor

WebMD Medical Reference from the COPD Foundation


After the information is gathered and the assessment made, you and your health care provider will develop a plan for dealing with each problem. Some plans are called "short term treatment plans." These plans deal only with the specific problems identified during that visit with your health care provider. For COPD patients, a treatment plan that includes longer term health care issues is often best.

A treatment plan is not something that your health care provider can simply give to you. Instead, a treatment plan will be successful if you and your health care providerwork together to create it. Success depends on medicines and other forms of treatment. But it also often requires effort on your part. Your health care provider may order more tests and tell you when you should return for a follow-up visit as part of the treatment planning.

While there are parts of every treatment plan that may be the same for all people with COPD, there is no "one-size-fits-all" plan. Your disease may be in an early or mild stage, while others may have a more advanced stage of the disease. Some people with COPD develop severe, debilitating conditions, and others may not. Other health care problems may exist that may need to be considered as well.

Individuals may differ in the speed that their lung disease progresses. Stopping smoking and avoiding cigarette smoke may be enough to limit the impact of COPD. No treatment plan can cure your COPD (except lung transplantation). But creating the right treatment plan and updating it as your health changes can help in improving your symptoms and give you a better quality of life.

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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