According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the most common treatments for COPD are lifestyle treatments, such as quitting smoking, avoiding lung irritants and making dietary changes. In later stages, pulmonologists may prescribe medications or recommend surgical interventions.
Bronchodilators and glucocorticosteroids are used to open up the airway, notes the NHLBI. To avoid further complications from preventable illnesses, doctors may also administer immunizations, such as a flu shot or a pneumonia vaccination. Finally, doctors may also recommend pulmonary rehabilitation to strengthen lungs or implement a surgical intervention to improve breathing. In extreme cases, they may remove a portion of the lung or perform a lung transplant.