How is COPD diagnosed?
Your doctor will first most likely ask about your symptoms, your medical and family history, and if you have been around a lot of smoke, dust, and chemicals. He or she will then usually do an exam and listen to your chest for wheezing and other sounds.
You may also have a simple and painless test called spirometry. When you breathe into a tube, it measures how much air you can breathe out and how fast the air moves. Other tools your doctor may use are chest x-rays, a CT scan, and blood tests to measure the level of certain gases, such as oxygen, in your blood.
How is COPD treated?
There is no cure for COPD, but there are steps you and your doctor can take to treat the symptoms and to help maintain your quality of life, so you can keep doing more of the activities you enjoy.
One of the most important things you can do to manage COPD? If you smoke, stop! It doesn't matter how long you've smoked or how old you are; it is never too late to stop.3
A number of medicines can also help treat COPD3. A pulmonologist may prescribe a bronchodilator to help make breathing easier by relaxing the muscles in your airways. Inhaled steroids may also be prescribed to help reduce inflammation.
As COPD progresses, there may be a drop in oxygen levels that may require the need for oxygen therapy to help support breathing. Surgery may be used for severe cases of COPD that have not responded to other treatments.
Pulmonary rehabilitation programs may also be helpful.4 These programs are usually supervised by healthcare professionals. Rehab activities may take place in a hospital or other healthcare facility, or at home. Pulmonary rehab programs may also include:
- A specialized exercise regimen
- Breath training
- Nutritional support
If you’ve been diagnosed with COPD, decide today to take care of yourself! Learn about how to deal with your symptoms and prevent your condition from getting worse. If you are a friend, neighbor or loved one looking to help support someone who may be at risk for COPD, please visit , opens new window. There you can learn more about the disease and find helpful resources, health professionals and caregivers who can provide support.
This information is for educational purposes only and does not replace treatment or advice from a healthcare professional. If you have questions, please talk with your doctor.