COPD cannot be cured, it can be managed. The goals of
treatment are to:
Slow down the disease by avoiding tobacco
smoke and air pollution.
Limit your symptoms, such as shortness of
Increase your activity level.
Improve your overall health.
Prevent and treat flare-ups. A flare-up, or exacerbation, is when your
symptoms quickly get worse and stay worse.
Many people are able to manage their COPD well enough to
take part in their usual daily activities, hobbies, and family events.
At first, treatment for
COPD helps you breathe better and slow the disease.
Much of the treatment includes things you do for yourself:
Quit smoking. This is so important. And
it's never too late. No matter how long you have had COPD or how serious it is,
quitting smoking will help slow down the disease and improve your quality of
life. Today's medicines offer lots of help for people who want to quit. You
will double your chances of quitting even if medicine is
the only treatment you use to quit, but your odds get even better when you
combine medicine and other quit strategies, such as counseling.1
Stay active. If you stay
active, you may have less shortness of breath, have a better attitude about
your life and the disease, and be less likely to feel
depressed or isolated from friends and family.
Exercise improves shortness of breath and will help you be more active.
Talk with your doctor about getting a yearly flu vaccine and a
pneumococcal shot. If you've already had one pneumococcal shot, ask your doctor if
you should have a second shot. Sometimes a second shot is advised for people
who got their first shot when they were younger than 65.