COPD Therapy options
and information

There are a variety of treatments available that can help you manage the symptoms of COPD on a daily basis¹. These COPD therapy options include, but are not limited to, medication, medicine delivery systems and supplemental oxygen².

 

Medicines for the management of COPD help your breathing in many ways. Some are maintenance medicines and need to be taken every day. Others are taken when your symptoms worsen. However, all medicines work to³:

 

  • Reduce the narrowing of the bronchial airways and relieve the air trapped in the lungs
  • Reduce the swelling and irritation in the lung
  • Reduce the amount of mucus that the lungs produce, which in turn reduces the frequency of coughing and the mucus-inducing irritation that follows
  • Remove mucus from the lungs
  • Help fight infections and prevent or treat exacerbations

COPD therapy options

Lady sitting at desk using a pulse oximeter

COPD Monitoring products
While it is important that you visit your doctor or nurse regularly so that they can monitor your progress, supplementary monitoring devices can be used to help track the progress of your COPD⁴.

 

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Gentleman using his OptiChamber Diamond spacer attached to his medication inhaler

COPD Spacers therapy

Some of the medications for the treatment of COPD are delivered straight to the lungs using inhaler devices. It can sometimes be difficult to coordinate the release of the medicine with the inhalation required and not enough of the drug reaches the lungs. A spacer is a simple, tube-like object that can be attached to an inhaler. It removes the need to time your breathing with the operation of the inhaler and creates a fine mist of medicine that travels deeper into the lungs. It also reduces deposits of the medicine in the mouth and the possibility of the medicine being absorbed into your blood stream⁵.

 

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Gentleman strengthening his breathing muscles by using a Threshold IMT Muscle Trainer

Muscle training

Respiratory muscle training (RMT) is a technique designed to improve the function of the respiratory muscles through specific exercises. Normal breathing generally uses between 10 to 15 per cent total lung capacity. Using RMT can strengthen your breathing muscles and increase the amount of lung capacity used. This allows for deeper breathing that, in turn, enables more oxygen to enter your bloodstream⁶.

 

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Laughing gentleman enjoying the benefits of the Innospire Deluxe COPD constant use nebulizer and SideStream nebulizer

Compressor nebulizer systems

A nebulizer delivers drugs in a fine spray or mist to your lungs via a mask or mouthpiece. It can be used instead of an inhaler when higher doses of medicine are needed over a longer period of time or when rapid relief is needed during a bad attack of breathlessness.  The Innospire Deluxe COPD constant use nebulizer is simple to operate, can be hands-free (if a mask is used), and can be used with most inhaled medicines⁷.

 

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SimplyGo Mini unit in shopping cart

Oxygen therapy solutions

If during the regular monitoring of your COPD your doctor decides that the oxygen levels in your blood stream are too low, he or she may prescribe oxygen therapy. This may seem quite frightening at first and you may worry about being connected to an oxygen tank. However, oxygen can reduce shortness of breath, allow you to exercise longer and harder, sleep better and generally make you feel better. It is an important way of managing your COPD. When your doctor prescribes oxygen, you will be given clear instruction on how and when you need to use it⁸:

 

  • How much oxygen you need for rest, exercise and/or sleep
  • How many hours a day oxygen should be used
  • How to use a pulse oximeter during activity and sleep
  • Advice on the type of oxygen system that would suit you the best.

 

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Sleeping man receiving NIV through his Wisp mask

Ventilation Solutions
If your breathing becomes very difficult despite regular treatment, your doctor may suggest non-invasive ventilation to help you breathe easier. This involves a soft, fitted mask being placed over your mouth or nose and air being pushed into your lungs from a machine. If your breathing becomes very difficult and threatens your life, you may be attached to a mechanical ventilation system that does the breathing for you on a temporary basis, usually only a few days. Very severe patients will need to remain on a non-invasive ventilator indefinitely. This allows your body to relax and enables your COPD treatment to have a greater effect. Very severe patients will be on a ventilator non-invasively for the rest of their lives⁹.

 

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Ladies hand preparing to use Threshold PEP airway clearance device

Airway clearance device

Learning to cough correctly is important as it allows you to clear excess mucus. However, clearing the lungs of excessive mucus can be difficult when you have COPD. Airway clearance therapy devices help clear secretions from the lungs by gradually applying positive air pressure to the airway and then rapidly shifting to negative air pressure. The shift in pressure simulates a deep, natural cough. This therapy is a gentle, comfortable way to remove excessive mucus and offer as natural a cough as possible¹⁰∙¹¹.

 

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References

1. Web MD. COPD treatments, improving your quality of life.
http://www.webmd.com/lung/copd/copd-treatments-improving-your-quality-of-life Accessed on 19 June 2015.

2. American Lung Association. Treatment options.
Available at: http://www.lung.org/lung-disease/copd/treating-copd/treatment-options.html
Accessed on 4 August 2015.

3. COPD Foundation. Slim Skinny Reference Guide®. COPD Medicines.

4. Gold COPD. Spirometry for Health Care Providers.
http://www.goldcopd.org/uploads/users/files/GOLD_Spirometry_2010.pdf 
Accessed on 5 August 2015.
 

5. Web MD. Metered dose inhalers (MDIs): How to use one when you have COPD.
http://www.webmd.boots.com/a-to-z-guides/metered-dose-inhalers-mdis-how-use-one-when-you-have-copd?page=3
Accessed on 4 August 2015.

6. PhysiPedia. Respiratory muscle training.
http://www.physio-pedia.com/Respiratory_Muscle_Training. 
Accessed 2 July 2015.

7. Livestrong.com. What Are the Benefits of Nebulizers?
http://www.livestrong.com/article/557219-what-are-the-benefits-of-nebulizers/
Accessed on 4 August 2015.

8. COPD Foundation. Slim Skinny Reference Guide. Oxygen Therapy.
 

9. COPD Foundation. Slim Skinny Reference Guide. COPD in the Hospital and the Transition Back to Home.

10. Healthy Way Magazine. Coughing it up.
Available at: http://www.healthywaymagazine.com/issue35/05_.html 
Accessed on 4 August 2015.

11. Medscape. Advances in Airway Clearance Technologies for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/814613_2
Accessed on 4 August 2015.

For informational purposes only, not to replace physician's directions.