Medication, oxygen therapy and lifestyle changes are all treatment options for COPD, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood institute. In some cases patients with severe COPD require surgery.
Medications include bronchodilators, usually in the form of an inhaler. They relax the muscles, opening the airways and making breathing easier. Steroid inhalers often prevent inflammation of lung tissues, reports the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Supplemental oxygen provides some of the air the body needs to carry out normal functions, according to the American Lung Association. Options include the use of compressed or liquid oxygen stored in bottles or an oxygen concentrator. Portable oxygen concentrators give the patient the freedom to leave the home.
The most important lifestyle change for any individual with COPD is to stop smoking. Other helpful changes include eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise. While these steps cannot reverse the damage already done, they slow the progress of the disease, according to WebMD.
Surgery is an option for some patients, according to the American Lung Association. A lung transplant is an option for some people, but some COPD patients do not have the strength to recover from this surgery. There is also a shortage of lungs for transplant.