Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Treatment Protocols: COPD
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a general word that define lung diseases. Among them are chronic bronchitis, asthma, and emphysema. More than 30 million citizens in the USA have been diagnosed with COPD. However, half of them have the COPD symptoms but unfortunately, do not know it. With the help of two scholarly articles, this paper seeks to expound more on treatment protocols for COPD. Treatment of COPD aims at controlling the symptoms and not in curing the disease. Also, symptoms and causes of the disease will be explored.
Some vital signs of COPD include frequent coughing that may contain sputum, breathlessness, tightness in the chest and wheezing. Most COPD cases are associated with inhaling pollutants, for example, smoking cigarettes and pipes and also second-hand smoking. Also, dust, fumes, and chemicals in work environments contribute to the high cases of COPD. Genetics can also take part in developing COPD even if one has never smoked (document, 2015).
Treatment of COPD seeks to accomplish some goals. These are:
• Limit the symptoms which may include shortness of breath through theuse of medicines.
• Slowing down the spread of the ailment by giving up smoking and shunning other causes like air pollution.
• Avoid and prevent flare-ups(exacerbations) using medications and other treatments.
• Increase general health through consistent activity.
In thetreatment of the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, it is important to note that the cure of this disease is yet to be found. The procedure carried out only aids in slowing down the progression of the disease, the damage caused by the disease and controlling the symptoms. Some of the treatment that can be offered includes;
As mentioned in the causes of COPD disease, smoking contributes most to this disease. For individuals with COPD and might be smoking, quitting would be the best treatment. However, the damage already caused to the lungs cannot be reversed but quitting smoking helps to avert additional harm to the lungs. This treatment is mostly effective in the early stages of COPD, but even those with progressive stages of COPD may benefit from giving up smoking (Choices, 2016).
Inhalers and Medications
An inhaler is a device that aids in breathing for patients experiencing breathing difficulties. An inhaler delivers medication directly into the lungs as the individual breathes in. There are several types of inhalers depending on the stage of COPD.
Short-acting bronchodilator inhalers. As the name suggests, these inhalers help in widening and relaxing the air paths which makes breathing easier. Short-acting bronchodilator inhalers are the first treatment used for people diagnosed with COPD. Examples of these inhalers are terbutaline and salbutamol (document, 2015). These inhalers are meant to be used when one feels breathless, with a maximum of four times in a day.
Long-acting bronchodilator inhalers. These inhalers have similar functions to the short-acting inhalers. However, long-acting bronchodilator inhaler is used once or twice in a day with each dose lasting for 12 hours. Examples of these inhalers include formoterol and salmeterol.
Steroid inhalers. This type of inhaler may be included in treatment for COPD if when taking long-acting bronchodilator inhalers one still gets breathless or experience frequent flare-ups. These inhalers have corticosteroid medication that helps reduce inflammation in the airways (document, 2015).
Medication can also be offered in cases where the inhalers have failed to control the symptoms. The medication is informed of capsules or tablets. Examples of these tablets are theophylline tablets which ease and opens up the airpaths and is taken twice in a day. Mucolytic tablets help to make the phlegm in the inner throat easier and thinner to cough out. Mucolytic tables are taken by patients with persistent chest cough that have thick mucus, usually three times in a day. Antibiotics may also be administered where the patient has signs of a chest infection (Choices, 2016).
Pulmonary Rehabilitition is a unique program of exercise and education which helps people with lung diseases like COPD. This program aims at improving the patients’ self-confidence, emotional welfare and also improve the amount of exercise one can do before running out of breath. The program involves physical exercise training such as strength exercises, walking and cycling, advice on diet, emotional and psychological support and provision of education of COPD for the patients and their families (Choices, 2016). The program is offered by healthcare professionals such as dietitians and physiotherapists.
This type of treatment is suitable for individuals with extreme COPD and where medication has failed to control the symptoms. Three operations can be carried out;
Lung Volume Reduction Surgery. An operation aimed at removing a section of lung that is damaged. This making breathing easier and comfortable by allowing the healthy parts to work better.
Bullectomy. This type of operation is performed to remove a pocket of air from one of the lungs. This makes breathing more comfortable by allowing the lungs to work better (document, 2015).
Lung Transplant. This is aprocedure that seeks to eliminate a damaged lung and replace it with a healthy one usually from a donor.
Oxygen can be provided through a mask or nasal tubes at homes. These are for patients with low levels of oxygen in their blood. However, it is not a treatment for symptoms like breathlessness but only helps to stop oxygen levels in blood from becoming very small. Supplemental oxygen can contribute to maintainingnormal body functioning, improve sleep and relieve mood swings, prevent risks of heart failures for people that have severe lung diseases and increase physical strength and mental alertness (document, 2015).
Treatment of COPD aims at controlling the symptoms and not in curing the disease. It should be noted that as most of COPD diseases results from smoking, victims of the diseases should have the urge to quit smoking rather than waiting on anyone to stop them. Exercises and education should be regular to assist victims in developing confidence and welfare to them. However, if these simple treatment protocols have failed, other treatment procedures can be offered as discussed above. More research should be carried out so that a permanent cure can be found for the COPD diseases rather than controlling the systems. This would be helpful to patients whose COPD levels is at the late stages.
Choices, N. (2016, September 12). Treatments for COPD. Retrieved March 22, 2017, from http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/chronic-obstructive-pulmonary-disease/pages/treatment.aspx
document. (2015). How is COPD treated? Retrieved March 22, 2017, from http://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/copd/diagonising-treating-and/how-is-copd-treated.html