COPD will impact your life differently at different times
Knowing what to expect is important so that you can work with your doctor to shape a treatment plan. Certain therapies are used to manage your COPD based on the severity of airflow limitation, symptoms, and the frequency of exacerbations. These therapies include medications, pulmonary rehabilitation, oxygen therapy, smoking cessation, and vaccines to prevent infection. Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider about treatment options that can help.
Spirometry testing is an important tool in helping your healthcare provider properly assess your airflow limitation with COPD. He or she may also discuss your level of symptoms and history of exacerbations with you to help determine your level of risk. Understanding these factors and re-evaluating often is an important part of identifying the best treatment plan for you.
Your cough could be nothing serious, or it could be an early sign of COPD. COPD develops slowly and can worsen over time, so be sure to report any symptoms you might have such as shortness of breath, coughing up mucus frequently, or wheezing to your doctor as soon as possible. If it is COPD, you can get a jump-start on taking steps toward breathing better.
There are many things you can do to manage life with COPD. Keep taking your medications as prescribed and soak in all the information you can about things like nutrition, disease management, and exercise. Learn smart ways to handle your daily routines.
If you have had an episode when your symptoms got worse than usual, this setback is not necessarily permanent. Meet with your doctor and reassess your treatment plan. Perhaps you need a new respiratory rehabilitation routine. Maybe your doctor will consider adding an additional therapy. Work closely with your healthcare provider to find the answers you need.