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Treating COPD

There is no cure for COPD. However, early detection and treatment makes managing COPD symptoms easier and keeps it from progressing.

You’ll receive a thorough evaluation from one of our skilled pulmonologists to ensure a precise diagnosis and effective treatment plan.

Traditional medications used to treat mild to severe COPD:

Respirator image

If you smoke, you will be advised to stop immediately. Our doctors can provide pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic tools to help you quit.

5 simple lifestyle changes that can help you manage and prevent COPD symptoms:

  1. Quitting smoking (see smoking cessation)
  2. Eating healthy
  3. Exercising regularly
  4. Controlling stress
  5. Avoiding environmental irritants

Oxygen Therapy

If you have moderate to severe hypoxemia (low level of oxygen in the blood), when at rest or with exertion, your doctor may prescribe long-term oxygen therapy. Oxygen is fed through a mask or nasal prongs to help with shortness of breath. 

Medicare guidelines state that patients are eligible for oxygen therapy if they meet one of the following criteria:

  1. Their oxygen saturation is less than 88 percent.
  2. Their measure of oxygen in the plasma is less than 55 mm Hg.

Long-term oxygen therapy has proven to be highly effective in:

  • Protecting patient’s heart and organs from damage
  • Improving sleep 
  • Reducing fatigue 
  • Increasing longevity 

Disease Complications

Appointments & Referrals

Our COPD Specialists

COPD Support Program

The Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program at UC San Diego Health is a unique lung disease education and support program that helps restore the quality of life for those with chronic breathing problems. Ask your physician if you're eligible to participate.

Find out more