Treatment for Final Stages of COPD
Goals of treating COPD are not to cure the disease, as there is no cure at this time. To relieve symptoms with few or no side effects, to slow down the disease’s progression, to improve daily tolerances and to prevent or treat complications of problems associated with COPD are all goals of treatment, even with end stage COPD. Treatments are different for each patient, but will include medication, oxygen, pulmonary rehab and sometimes even surgery.
Bronchodilators are normally used as treatment, and work by relaxing airway muscles, and open the airway for breathing to resume. These medications are inhaled and can be long or short acting in nature. This is normally used as a part of stage III COPD, while in stage IV more inhaled bronchodilators will be used. Glucocorticosteroids are inhaled steroids that also reduce the inflammation in the airway. Finally, pneumonia and flu vaccines are necessary to help keep the patient healthy during these seasons when breathing can be impaired by these illnesses.
There is no agreed upon definition of the final or end stages of COPD, as all pulmonologists have their own ideas about what the final stages are. Patients can live for years at these stages, with medications and breathing treatments to control the impaired airways.