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How can bronchodilators help treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)?

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Bronchodilators relax the muscles around your airways to let more air into your lungs. They can help with symptoms like a cough and shortness of breath.

You breathe the medicine into your lungs through a device called an inhaler. Bronchodilators can be short-acting or long-acting:

From: Treatments for COPD WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES: American Lung Association: "Managing Your COPD Medications."

American Family Physician: “Treatment of Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: the GOLD Guidelines.”

Mayo Clinic: "COPD Treatment."

National Health Service: "Bronchodilators -- Side Effects."

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: "How Is COPD Treated?" "What Causes COPD?" "What is COPD?"

Reviewed by Paul Boyce on March 14, 2019

SOURCES: American Lung Association: "Managing Your COPD Medications."

American Family Physician: “Treatment of Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: the GOLD Guidelines.”

Mayo Clinic: "COPD Treatment."

National Health Service: "Bronchodilators -- Side Effects."

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: "How Is COPD Treated?" "What Causes COPD?" "What is COPD?"

Reviewed by Paul Boyce on March 14, 2019

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How can short-acting bronchodilators help with treating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)?

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