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copd treatment – 12 methods

Nowadays, several medicines are available for COPD treatment. But none of those medications can fully check the worsening of the physical condition (COPD)! All these drugs are chiefly for slowing down the progress of the disease and providing some relief from the symptoms.

Cessation of Smoking: The most important factor for checking COPD is cessation of tobacco smoking! When the patient successfully quits all forms of smoking, the rate at which the disease advances is slowed down. In fact, there are now many means that help smokers in eliminating the habit.

Bronchodilators: The bronchodilators denote an important treatment procedure of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Drugs that pertain to this category play a very crucial role of relaxing the wall muscles of the airways, and thus enabling an improvement in breathing. Some of these patterns of medications advised by the physician are: Albuterol, Atrovent, Combivent, Terbutaline, Spiriva, Xopenex and Theophylline, to cite a few.There are two types here 1)short acting 2)long acting

Mild COPD patients generally are good with short acting bronchodilators.Albuterol and Proventil are two examples here.There are three types of bronchodilators : 1) Beta- agonists : work on muscles surrounding smaller airways 2)Anticholinergics which act on muscles surrounding larger airways and finally theophylline acts on diaphragm

You should know the side-effects caused by using these medications. Side effects can include dry mouth and palpitations. Please consult your doctor for complete details.

Steroids: These steroids used on COPD patients have cortisol in them and thereby they are called as corticosteroids. Cortisol is a substance that our body produces during stress conditions

Usually steroids are used when the patient is in severe condition. They are available as IV or oral drugs. Steroids can be treated to cure acute exacerbations. Dosage of the steroids has to be regulated according to the case undergoing the treatment. Some studies say that oral steroid dosage resulted in shorter hospital stay. Patient has to know that there could be side effects like thrush(infection in the throat) caused due to the usage of these medications.

Combination drugs:These are a combination of steroids and bronchodilators . Sometimes it is understood that combination drugs deliver better results in widening the airways and providing relief. Most common types are

  1. short-acting beta-agonist and short-acting anticholinergic
  2. long-acting beta-agonist and inhaled corticosteroid

You should follow the advice of your doctor regarding the dosage and the possible side-effects

Pulmonary Rehabilitation: Pulmonary rehabilitation is a unique form of medical intervention, for patients who are having severe symptoms and whose routine life is severely hindered. Primary goal of rehabilation is to reduce the symptoms or severity of symptoms. Rehabilation is tailored to the specific case to address the specific conditions.

Oxygen Therapy: About twenty years back, a study was carried out for assessing the efficacy of oxygen therapy, for COPD patients. This study observed that oxygen therapy both reduces the rate of mortality, and also enhances the patients’ quality of life by reducing severity of symptoms. But the vital point is that, this therapy should be taken only if prescribed by the doctor.

Flu Shots: The corresponding findings of the recent past strongly suggest that flu shots are an important part of COPD treatment. They (findings) state that these shots ensure, the patients are not necessitated to frequently visit the physician. In addition, the flu shots have also been found to bring a drop in the rates of both morbidity and also mortality.

Inhalers: Medications are usually given using inhalers. You must know how to use this device correctly or else it is going to negatively impact your recovery. There are various types like open-mouth ,closed mouth ,powder inhaler and spacer inhaler. Below document gives you good understanding as to how you can use inhalers

http://www.upmc.com/HealthAtoZ/patienteducation/Documents/COPDInhalers.pdf

Nebulizer:

A nebulizer converts liquid medication into vapour that can be taken by COPD patient.  Nebulizer helps in taking the liquid medication in the form of mist through mask or mouthpiece. They are also called as atomizers and medicines like ventolin,proventil , airet can be administered using nebulizer.

Bullectomy: This is the process of removing bullae from lungs. Bullae are large air sacs that cause hindrance to the normal oxygen flow

Lung Volume reduction surgery (LVRS) : This process removes damaged lung parts and give more room for healtheir parts of the lung. This surgery is normally operated through open-chest procedure.

Lung transplant: Lung transplant is critical as only 50% of the patients survive and cope up with the addition of new lung. Major challenge here is getting the lung donor. Sometimes the patient has to wait few years also

Some of the patients die immediately as the body might reject the new lung rightaway.

More on COPD Treatment: Oxygen Therapy is the standard of copd treatment recognized by GOLD. Recent medical studies strongly indicate that usage of blend of oxygen and helium, heliox, could also be a suitable therapy for patients. However, usage of heliox is not that extensive, as on date. It was noted that heliox could help the airways in being less resistant to flow of air. Also, it was found that inclusion of heliox in treating COPD enhances the distance that can be walked by patients! Despite the apparent benefits of heliox, it is not yet a recognized means of treatment, and there are valid reasons for it. Therapy based on heliox would be more costly than the one of oxygen. And in addition, some quarters of the medical fraternity doubt that, heliox could also be risky for patients. More research on this aspect is necessary, before anything conclusive can be said about heliox therapy.