After a COPD diagnosis, start maintenance therapy early

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(BPT) – Did you know that by the time many people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are diagnosed by a doctor, their lung function (which is the amount of and speed air can be inhaled and exhaled) is already significantly reduced?

By the time a COPD diagnosis is made by a doctor, lung function can be reduced by as much as 50 percent, and will continue to decline over time. In fact, a recent review of landmark studies found that loss of lung function happens faster during the early stages of COPD.

“You’ve been diagnosed with COPD. Now what?”

COPD, which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema, is a serious but treatable lung disease. If you have been diagnosed with COPD, it is important to work with your doctor to find a daily treatment plan that may help manage symptoms and improve your ability to breathe.

“When treating my patients with COPD, I often decide to prescribe a maintenance medication with other lifestyle recommendations, such as quitting smoking or exercising more,” says Dr. Aaron Milstone, a pulmonologist in Nashville, Tennessee. “Although no therapy has been shown to slow the rate of lung function decline in COPD, starting maintenance treatment at time of diagnosis can help improve lung function.”

In addition to medication, you may also want to discuss the following disease management strategies with your doctor:

*Starting a new exercise routine

*Quitting smoking

*Pulmonary rehabilitation

The more you know, the better equipped you will be to take an active role in your health and treatment plan.

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