The Knowledge Center

Manage COPD

There are things you can do to manage COPD.

Once you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), you’ll always have it. But that doesn’t mean you’re powerless to manage your COPD. You have options that can help you breathe easier. Be sure to discuss all of your options with your doctor.

Lifestyle changes beyond prescription treatment:

  • Make lifestyle changes. Lifestyle changes can help manage your COPD. These include quitting smoking (if you smoke), eating a healthy diet, and exercising. Talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program
  • Consider pursed-lip breathing and pulmonary rehabilitation.
    • Pursed-lip breathing is a simple exercise that may help you breathe more easily
    • A formal pulmonary rehabilitation program can help improve your lung function
  • Avoid triggers that can make COPD worse.
    • Irritants (such as chemicals used in the painting, finishing, or staining of furniture)
    • Dangerous gases (including carbon monoxide and radon)

Prescription treatments:

  • There are 2 main kinds of COPD medicines:
    • Maintenance medicines (long-acting and short-acting medicines) are taken as little as once a day or up to 4 times a day and work to keep airways open for up to 24 hours
    • Some maintenance medicines include combination therapy, which has multiple medicines in one dose
    • Your doctor might also prescribe a “rescue” inhaler to help you breathe better when you experience sudden or worsening symptoms while on maintenance therapy

Talk with your doctor to see what types of COPD medications may be right for you.

Want to know more about:

Getting diagnosed? >

What to do after COPD diagnosis? >

How to manage COPD? >