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Although most cases of COPD are preventable, it cannot be cured. Once lung damage occurs, treatment focuses on preventing additional damage, reducing symptoms of the disease, and enhancing the quality of daily activities.

The disability from COPD can cause dramatic changes to your quality of life; treatment of its symptoms, prevention of complications, and progression of the disease require attention to a variety of behaviors. Because of these factors, some people seek out their treatment through a comprehensive pulmonary rehabilitation program. These programs provide guidance and support as you learn to manage your COPD through medications, good nutrition, appropriate exercise, and good lifestyle choices. These programs work well for some people and may help optimize quality of life.

Treatment involves the following:

Lifestyle changesMedicationsSurgeryOther treatmentsAlternative and complementary therapies

Revision Information

  • About COPD. American Lung Association website. Available at: http://www.lungusa.org/lung-disease/copd/about-copd/. Accessed October 1, 2012.

  • COPD. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated September 25, 2012. Accessed October 1, 2012.

  • What is COPD? National Heart Lung Blood Institute (NHLBI) website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/copd/. Accessed October 1, 2012.

  • What you can do about a lung disease called COPD. Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease website. Available at: http://www.goldcopd.org/uploads/users/files/GOLD%5FPatient%5FRevJan10.pdf. Accessed October 1, 2012.