Dr. Sanderson explains how chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is treated.
The treatment for managing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are varied. First, of course and most importantly is the education of the individual, the importance for smoking cessation. It’s important that the individual be immunized for influenza, especially during the, in anticipation of the flu season.
It’s recommended that they immunize for pneumococcal pneumonia. It doesn’t cause all pneumonias but it can cause some of the infections that can occur in the lungs that could worsen the individual’s symptoms from their COPD.
Beyond that, we use bronchodilators to try to help open the air passages and to relieve the inflammation in the airway. Some individuals, having more severe impairment, may need supplemental oxygen and that can be used for many people to help preserve their exercise ability and keep them active.
Pulmonary rehabilitation is also an important part of the management of COPD, teaching patients how to exercise, how to exercise wisely and to continue to maintain an active lifestyle and maintain their muscle tone and general fitness.
If the individual has already been diagnosed with COPD it’s important to get on a good medical program to avoid respiratory irritants, to get their immunizations in a timely fashion. Sometimes the physicians will suggest that they keep an antibiotic on hand because we all develop episodic respiratory infections and it’s sometimes desirable for them to begin using an antibiotic with the first sign of worsening infection in the chest.
About Dr. Sanderson, M.D.:
Dr. David R. Sanderson, M.D., practices at Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, specializing in pulmonary care. Dr. Sanderson attended the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University. He completed his residency and fellowship at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.