Managing COPD (Treatment Guidelines)

A person is considered to have stable COPD when their symptoms stay more or less the same on a day-to-day basis. Some days may be better or worse than others, but their disease is under control for the most part. Those who are having a COPD flare-up do not have stable disease, but they may have stable disease again after the flare-up has been treated.

Guidelines for managing stable disease have two goals: reducing symptoms and reducing risk of flare-ups. The goals for managing stable disease include:

Relieving everyday symptoms
Increasing the patient’s ability to exercise
Improving the patient’s overall health
Slowing the progress of the disease as much as possible
Preventing and treating COPD flare-ups
Reducing the risk of serious and/or life-threatening complications1
Medications play a large role in the management of stable COPD. People with COPD will often have maintenance medicines that they take every day to help relieve their daily symptoms. They usually have rescue medicines as well, which are on hand to help relieve symptoms that suddenly get worse. Some people also need regular oxygen therapy to help manage their stable COPD.1

People with COPD are strongly encouraged to take part in a pulmonary rehabilitation program to help them manage their stable disease. During these programs, patients learn about many different ways to help control their symptoms, such as:

Exercising
Nutritional advice
Lifestyle changes to help avoid infections
Breathing strategies
Preparing for emergencies

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