How Is COPD Treated
When you are diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema, you likely will have many questions and the answers may not always be clear at first. Not all people with COPD have the same symptoms and treatment may differ from person to person. It is important to talk to your doctor about your treatment options and to get answers to all of your questions.
A variety of medicines are used to treat COPD and there is no "best" medicine for all people. Each person's COPD is different and your doctor and healthcare team will work with you to set up the best plan to address your symptoms and needs. See how to manage your COPD medications »
By taking the right medicine at the right time, you can:
- Breathe better
- Do more of the things you enjoy
- Have fewer flare-ups or exacerbations
Connect with resources that can assist with paying for care.
If you or someone you love suffers from a chronic lung disease like COPD, there is hope for rebuilding strength and enjoying a fuller, more active life. Pulmonary rehabilitation programs typically combine education, exercise training, nutrition advice and counseling. Get answers to common questions about pulmonary rehabilitation »
Your body needs oxygen to do everything from digesting food, daily household chores, to going to the grocery store. Sometimes with COPD, you require extra or supplemental oxygen (also called oxygen therapy). Learn how supplemental oxygen works and get safety tips »
Some people with very severe COPD symptoms may have a hard time breathing all of the time. In some of these cases, doctors may suggest lung surgery to improve breathing. Not everyone is a candidate for lung surgery. Understand what should be considered before surgery and the different types of procedures »
Clinical trials are research studies that test how well new medical approaches work in people. Each study answers scientific questions and tries to find better ways to prevent, screen for, diagnose or treat a disease. People who take part in clinical trials for COPD have an opportunity to contribute to knowledge of and progress against COPD. They also receive up-to-date care from experts. Learn how clinical trials work and find a trial near you »
Complementary therapies refer to the many therapies, philosophies and practices that are not considered conventional or standard in the United States. Some examples of complementary therapy included massage, yoga and acupuncture. These techniques can't treat COPD, but may be able to improve symptoms and quality of life. Always discuss these techniques with your care team before you participate »
Palliative Care and COPD
Palliative care is a specialty in medicine focused on treating the symptoms, pain and stress that accompany serious illnesses like COPD. It is available to you from the moment you are diagnosed and through the entire course of your illness. The goal of palliative care is to help you and your family, achieve the highest quality of life. Learn more about the benefits of palliative care »
Reviewed and approved by the American Lung Association Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel. Last reviewed December 13, 2017.