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How do treatments for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) change with stages?

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Your doctor will prescribe different treatments at each stage of your disease. If your COPD gets worse, you may need to add treatments to help you breathe, feel better, or lower your chance of having flares.

Mild. You’ll take a short-acting bronchodilator and a flu vaccine.

Moderate. You may add a long-acting bronchodilator if needed, and try pulmonary rehabilitation.

Severe. You might add inhaled corticosteroids if you have flares that get worse or more frequent.

Very severe. You may add long-term oxygen therapy if you have chronic respiratory failure, as well as consider lung surgery.

You can try treatments to improve your quality of life at any stage. This is called palliative care. Complementary treatments like acupuncture, massage, or yoga might help you feel a bit better, too.

From: What Happens When You Have COPD? WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

Albert Rizzo, MD, chief of pulmonary and critical care medicine, Christiana Care Health System, Wilmington, DE.                                                                    

American Lung Association: “COPD: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment,” “COPD Treatment Options,” “Managing Your COPD Medications,” “Palliative Care and COPD.”

Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease: “Pocket Guide to COPD Diagnosis, Management, and Prevention.”

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “What Is COPD?” “How Is COPD Treated?”

Reviewed by Neha Pathak on June 16, 2017

SOURCES:

Albert Rizzo, MD, chief of pulmonary and critical care medicine, Christiana Care Health System, Wilmington, DE.                                                                    

American Lung Association: “COPD: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment,” “COPD Treatment Options,” “Managing Your COPD Medications,” “Palliative Care and COPD.”

Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease: “Pocket Guide to COPD Diagnosis, Management, and Prevention.”

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “What Is COPD?” “How Is COPD Treated?”

Reviewed by Neha Pathak on June 16, 2017

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