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Treatments for COPD

Your COPD treatment plan will likely include several forms of treatment. These are based on your symptoms and the underlying cause of your COPD. Your health care provider will prescribe the best treatments for your needs. Parts of a typical treatment plan are described on this sheet.

Treating Your Lungs


  • Medications will be prescribed to treat the lung problems contributing to your COPD. Some medications help relieve symptoms when you have them. Others are taken daily to control inflammation in the lungs. Always take your medications as prescribed. Learn the names of your medications, as well as how and when to use them.

  • Oxygen therapy may be prescribed if tests show that your blood contains too little oxygen. In this situation, prescribed oxygen may make you feel better and even prolong your life. Oxygen may be used all the time. Or, it may be used only during certain activities.

Preventing COPD from Progressing

Hand squeezing and crushing box of cigarettes.

  • Quitting smoking is the best way to keep COPD from getting worse. No matter what shape your lungs are in, quitting now will make a difference!

  • Learning how to avoid infection can help keep COPD infections from getting worse.

Coping with Shortness of Breath

Senior man and woman walking, jogging near beach.

  • Exercising will improve energy levels and strengthen your muscles, so you can do more.

  • Learning the best ways to breathe helps you gain control over your breathing. You’ll learn techniques for breathing more efficiently. And, you’ll learn how to keep anxiety from making shortness of breath worse.

  • Conserving your energy and pacing yourself will help you do more and have less shortness of breath in your daily life.

  • A pulmonary rehabilitation program may be prescribed to teach you about all aspects of your treatment plan. You’ll get hands-on help with managing your disease, breathing techniques, exercise, support and counseling.

  • Eating a healthy, balanced diet and making an effort to maintain your ideal weight is also helpful.


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