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How to treat COPD symptoms

Updated February 21, 2017

COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is a type of lung disease that can affect your ability to breath. Two conditions are often associated with COPD: emphysema and chronic bronchitis. While smoking is a common cause of this lung disease, other factors such as exposure to second-hand smoke and gases can also increase the risk of developing COPD. There is no cure for this condition, but you can treat the symptoms and improve breathing.

Take medications as directed by your doctor. Expect your physician to prescribe one drug or a combination of drugs to treat symptoms of COPD. Common medications include prescription inhalers, steroids and antibiotics to treat any underlying infection.

Avoid smoke and smoke-filled rooms. Exposure to smoke complicates symptoms of COPD. Quit smoking, ask friends and family to stop smoking in your presence and avoid locations prone to smoke such as bars or clubs.

Reduce mucus. Thick mucus in your throat makes it difficult to breathe when dealing with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder. Keep airways clear of mucus by using a humidifier to keep the air in your home moist and by drinking plenty of fluids.

Participate in physical activity. Lack of exercise lowers your energy and endurance. Improve the strength of your respiratory muscles by engaging in activities such as walking or light aerobics. Start slowly, and gradually build endurance.

Control heartburn and reflux disease. The back flow of stomach acid into your throat aggravates COPD. Take medications to reduce excess stomach acid, and take other measures such as eating smaller meals, losing weight and avoiding trigger foods.

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About the Author

Valencia Higuera is a freelance writer from Chesapeake, Virginia. She has contributed content to print publications and online publications such as Sidestep.com, AOL Travel, Work.com and ABC Loan Guide. Higuera primarily works as a personal finance, travel and medical writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English/journalism from Old Dominion University.