There is no cure for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but treatment can help slow the progression of the condition and reduce the symptoms.
If you smoke, the best way to prevent COPD from getting quickly worse is to stop smoking and avoid further damage to your lungs. Read about the support available to help you stop smoking.
There are also medicines that can help relieve the symptoms of COPD. The type of medicine you take will depend on how severe your COPD is and what symptoms you have. You may have to try different medicines to find which suits you best.
Often, people with COPD have to take a combination of medicines. In addition, many people keep different medicines available in case they have a flare-up, when symptoms are particularly bad. Your doctor will discuss the best options with you.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has produced guidance about the diagnosis and treatment of COPD. The Department of Health has been working with patients and healthcare providers to produce a strategy for COPD.
Stopping smoking is the most effective way for people with COPD to help themselves feel better and is the only proven way to reduce the rate of decline in lung function.
Stopping smoking at an early stage of the disease makes a huge difference. Any damage already done to the airways cannot be reversed, but giving up smoking can slow the rate at which the condition worsens.
If COPD is in the early stages and symptoms are mild, no other treatments may be needed. However, it is never too late to stop smoking. Even people with fairly advanced COPD are likely to benefit from quitting, which may prevent further damage to the airways.