COPD diagnosis and treatment

How is COPD diagnosed?

Your doctor will diagnose COPD based on your symptoms and medical history.1 The main test for diagnosing COPD is a lung function test called spirometry. You will be asked to blow into a tube and the test will measure the volume of air you breathe out. If you suffer from stable hypercapnic COPD the main test for diagnosis is a blood gas analysis.

How is COPD treated?

If you smoke, quitting is the first step to slowing the progression of the disease.2 You will also be prescribed medications to help you manage your symptoms and to reduce the frequency and severity of exacerbations.2 A pulmonary rehabilitation program3 involving exercise and education will help you manage your disease.

If your disease is severe enough to cause low blood oxygen levels, oxygen therapy may be recommended to help with symptoms such as shortness of breath.

A form of assisted ventilation called noninvasive ventilation (NIV) is emerging as a treatment for some patients with COPD in addition to standard treatments.4 NIV involves delivering air through a ventilation device to your lungs via a mask.

References

  • 01

    How is COPD diagnosed? National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health‐topics/topics/copd/diagnosis.html

  • 02

    Global Strategy for the Diagnosis, Management and Prevention of COPD, Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) 2014. http://www.goldcopd.org/

  • 03

    What is pulmonary rehabilitation? COPD Foundation http://www.copdfoundation.org/Learn‐More/Pulmonary‐Rehabilitation/What‐is‐Pulmonary‐ Rehabilitation.aspx

  • 04

    Koehnlein, T et al. Non‐invasive positive pressure ventilation for the treatment of severe, stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a prospective, multicentre, randomised, controlled clinical trial. Lancet Resp Med 2014 Sep;2:698‐705 http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanres/article/PIIS2213‐2600(14)70153‐5/abstract