COPD Management

Lung Center of Nevada, a division of Comprehensive Cancer Centers, is a team of board-certified pulmonologists, respiratory therapists, nurse practitioners, and administrative support staff. The team adds to Comprehensive’s multidisciplinary approach by offering an entire division dedicated to treating lung diseases such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), which is a chronic disease and has been known to lead to lung cancer.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is an umbrella term used to describe progressive lung diseases including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and refractory (non-reversible) asthma. This disease is characterized by increasing breathlessness. COPD is a chronic disease, meaning it either lasts for a long period of time or never goes away. There are many different medications that can be prescribed for COPD. Two kinds are rescue medicines and maintenance medicines, which can help manage COPD:

  • Rescue Medicines – These therapies provide fast relief for sudden symptoms, but they aren’t meant for long-term control.
  • Maintenance Medicines – These medications are taken every day, whether symptoms present or not and can help improve lung function, and control COPD symptoms over the long term.

Discussing COPD Treatment with Healthcare Providers

The following are some tips to help patients have a better conversation with their healthcare provider, so they know what questions to ask and what treatment options may be available if they are diagnosed with COPD:

Know Your Inhaler – Keep in mind that different medicines come in different inhalers. Each type of inhaler has a different way of delivering medicine to the lungs. All inhalers take a bit of training to use correctly, so ask a healthcare provider, someone on their staff, or even a pharmacist to show how an inhaler works. Patients may even show their healthcare provider how they use the inhaler to confirm it’s the right way, or make adjustments, if necessary.

Other things a patient should know about treatment include the fact that inhaled medicines used to treat COPD contain steroids. Know that there are treatment options for COPD that do not contain steroids. Patients should always ask if such a treatment might be right for their personal needs. This includes talking to healthcare provider if concerned about side effects of any treatment exist.

Understanding COPD Medicines – Having COPD means patients may need to take medicine to help control their symptoms. That’s why understanding what your medicines do and how to use each one is so important. Talking control of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) symptoms, it’s important to have an action plan for using medicines. An action plan should consider the following questions each day, to see how a patient is feeling, and what steps to take if they are not:

If a Patient is Doing Well They Are:

  • Breathing with less shortness of breath
  • Doing daily activities
  • Coughing up usual amounts of phlegm and mucus
  • Sleeping well
  • Having a good appetite

If a Patient is Not Doing Well They Have:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty completing daily activities
  • More coughing than usual
  • More and thicker mucus
  • Using a rescue inhaler or nebulizer more often
  • Trouble sleeping

If patients are not doing well, they are urged to contact their primary care provider, their pulmonologist, or in case of emergency go directly to the Emergency Room.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a significant risk factor for lung cancer, which adds to the importance of proper treatment of the disease to the team at Comprehensive Cancer Centers. Approximately one percent of COPD patients develop lung cancer every year, which may be associated with genetic susceptibility to cigarette smoke. With this risk factor, the team at Lung Center of Nevada will work closely with patients to manage their care as best as possible.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help

Physicians at Lung Center of Nevada, a division of Comprehensive Cancer Centers provides a variety of treatment options for patients with lung disease, such as COPD.  To learn more about the other diseases our pulmonary division treats, click here. To schedule an appointment with the Lung Center of Nevada please call 702-952-3350.


The content is this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.