Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) refers to a group of lung diseases, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema, that limit airflow and make breathing challenging.
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COPD is diagnosed with a medical and personal history, a physical exam and laboratory tests, including an electrocardiogram, chest X-ray, pulmonary function tests (to determine lung volume and air flow) and pulse oximetry (to measure the saturation of oxygen in the blood) and electrocardiogram.
Although there is no cure for COPD, its symptoms can be treated and your quality of life can be improved. The first step is to stop smoking and to avoid any environments with smoke or air pollutants. Additional lifestyle changes, including healthy eating, regular exercising and controlling stress, are recommended.
Your doctor may prescribe medications such as bronchodilators, anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, oxygen, theophylline, phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitors and antibiotics. Finally, there are other therapies such as supplemental oxygen therapy and pulmonary rehabilitation.