Treatment for COPD

Man and woman walking along beach.

Your healthcare provider will prescribe the best treatments for your COPD.


Recommendations include the following:

  • Medicines. Some medicines help relieve symptoms when you have them. Others are taken daily to control inflammation in the lungs. Always take your medicines as prescribed. Learn the names of your medicines, as well as how and when to use them.

  • Oxygen therapy. Oxygen may be prescribed if tests show that your blood contains too little oxygen.

  • Smoking. If you smoke, quit. Smoking is the main cause of COPD. Quitting will help you be able to better manage your COPD. Ask your healthcare provider about ways to help you quit smoking.

  • Avoiding infections. Infections, like a cold or the flu, can cause your symptoms to worsen. Try to stay away from people who are sick. Wash your hands often. And, ask your healthcare provider about vaccines for the flu and pneumonia.

Coping with shortness of breath

Coping tips include the following:

  • Exercise. Try to be as active as possible. This will improve energy levels and strengthen your muscles, so you can do more.

  • Breathing techniques. Ask your healthcare provider or nurse to show you how to do pursed-lip breathing.

  • Balance rest and activity. Each day, try to balance rest periods with activity. For example, you might start the day with getting dressed and eating breakfast, then relax and read the paper. After that, take a brief walk. And then sit with your feet up for a while.

  • Pulmonary rehabilitation. Ask your provider, or call your local hospital to find out about pulmonary rehab programs. The programs help with managing your disease, breathing techniques, exercise, support and counseling.

  • Healthy eating. Eating a healthy, balanced diet and making an effort to maintain your ideal weight are important to staying as healthy as possible. Make sure you have a lot of fruit and vegetables every day, as well as balanced portions of whole grains, lean meats and fish, and low-fat dairy products.