What Are the Common Treatments of Acute COPD Exacerbation?

It’s known that an acute COPD exacerbation is a sudden worsening of COPD symptoms. Common treatment is either hospitalization or a home-care nurse, both of which is necessary for managing an acute exacerbation. It depends on you, but the exact criteria used to determine whether you will benefit from these two approaches or not is uncertain for now and varies from your symptoms and severity. If your COPD exacerbation cannot be managed safely at home, you will be admitted to the hospital. At that time, your treatment of acute exacerbation is determined by your doctor or health care provider. It may include:

  • Oxygen therapy
  • Glucocorticosteroids: targets on inflammation
  • Antibiotics
  • Bronchodilators
  • Respiratory stimulants
  • Ventilatory support

Besides those medical treatments, there are also some supplemental treatments for acute COPD exacerbation.

Firstly, you should stop smoking currently. Studies show that the disease progresses more slowly after stopping smoking. Most people who stop smoking cough less than before and produce less sputum although the progress will take several months. Oxygen therapy will help you a lot by raising the oxygen level in the blood. Low level of oxygen in the blood is known as hypoxemia, which would even occur if you don’t feel short of breath or have other symptoms. Supplemental oxygen must never be used while smoking because oxygen is explosive. Moreover, more than 30 percent of people with severe COPD are not able to eat enough because of fatigue and shortness of breath. Unintended weight loss is often caused by shortness of breath, which usually occurs in people with more advanced lung disease. You should aware to increase the number of calories you eat. For instance, frequent meals with nutrient-dense foods like eggs is a perfect choice. Try to avoid meals that require little preparation. More importantly, you should rest before meals. If you continue to lose weight unintendedly, a prescription medication may be recommended to stimulate your appetite. Pulmonary rehabilitation programs may include education, exercise training, social support and instruction on breathing techniques that can ease symptoms of breathlessness. Even people with severe shortness of breath can benefit from a rehabilitation program. The last step of acute COPD exacerbation treatment is surgery, such as lung volume reduction surgery or lung transplantation, may be helpful in relieving symptoms in some patients with emphysema.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.