Natural Health Nexis
This nhn COPD Guide includes information about Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease that is written primarily to help COPD Patients better understand their condition and the range of COPD treatment options that are currently available:
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Can Be Treated to prevent further progression of the disease, and improve the COPD patients Quality of Life by decreasing the severity and frequency of COPD Symptoms and decreasing the occurrence of COPD Exacerbations.
By following the optimum COPD Treatment Regimen, the COPD patient can also expect to reduce the accelerated erosion of Life Expectancy associated with worsening COPD.
The most critical step in any COPD treatment regimen is to remove the source of the lung irritants that cause COPD.
For most people this means Smoking Cessation, including cessation of second-hand smoking. Clinical studies have shown that for smokers who suffer from COPD, complete smoking cessation prevents further loss of Lung Function above that expected due to other factors such as normal aging.
It is also important to avoid any exposure to other lung irritants such as dusts, irritant gases, or any form of air pollution. Clinical studies suggest that any COPD patient will experience positive benefits from smoking cessation "or avoidance of any other lung irritants, regardless of the COPD Stage that they have reached.
Your doctor will be able to prescribe a combination of medications in order to relieve your COPD Symptoms.
A typical COPD Treatment regimen will include taking multiple COPD medications, with each drug being prescribed to provide relief from a specific COPD symptom. Your doctor should also make you fully aware of the various side-effects and risks that each of these pharmaceuticals may be associated with.
Bronchodilators are a type of COPD medication that make breathing easier by relaxing the constricting muscles in the walls of the bronchi and bronchioles, thereby allowing these respiratory passages to become less narrow.
Treatment of Daily COPD Symptoms
For patients with daily COPD symptoms, the American Thoracic Society"1} recommends that Anticholinergic Bronchodilators be used as the primary maintenance treatment for COPD.
Anticholinergic Bronchodilators are currently the most commonly prescribed medications for COPD treatment, with Ipratroprium Bromide being the most widely used specific drug. Usually administered from a metered dose aerosol inhaler, this drug is sold under the brand name Atrovent, or (when combined with Albuterol Sulphate) as Combivent.
Beta2-Agonists are a different class of Bronchodilators that dilate the bronchi and bronchioles by stimulating receptors in the sympathetic nervous system.
Theophylline is another bronchodilator prescribed to be taken one or twice per day, but this drug is taken orally.
Albuterol is a Short-Acting Beta2-Agonist that is widely prescribed in the treatment of patients with daily COPD symptoms for use as a fast-acting rescue inhaler.
"1, American Thoracic Society. Standards for the diagnosis and care of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1995;152:S77-S120.
Treatment of Intermittent COPD Symptoms
For patients with intermittent COPD symptoms, the American Thoracic Society recommends treatment using Short-Acting Beta2-Agonists, with Albuterol metered aerosol inhaler being most commonly prescribed.
In some cases, Short-Acting Beta2-Agonists may also be combined with Anticholinergic Bronchodilators to provide increased efficacy without increasing side-effects.
Corticosteroids are systemic drugs that are widely applied in the treatment of Asthma, but they are not routinely indicated for the treatment of COPD.
COPD Treatment Guidelines suggest that oral or inhaled Corticosteroids should only be prescribed to patients whose symptoms cannot be controlled using bronchodilators.
Following a clinical trial to determine efficacy, treatment with Corticosteroids should only be continued if significant benefit is measured, and then the dose should be optimized to the minimum possible.
The most common side effects of inhaled corticosteroids include upper respiratory tract infection, headaches and pharyngitis.
Antibiotics are used in COPD treatment to eradicate bacterial infections. They are often prescribed in the treatment of COPD Exacerbations, which are commonly caused by bacterial infection in the lungs.
Antibiotics are also used in COPD treatment to attend to bacterial infections throughout the respiratory tract including Sinusitis, Bronchitis and Pneumonia.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine treatment of Chronic Bronchitis may also include:
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