When an individual has COPD, air is being blocked because of the tightening of the airways due to inflammation (bronchitis), and it is also possible for the patient to experience alveolar over-inflation (emphysema). The latter condition creates a problem to the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide, ultimately leading to an oxygen deficiency.
Unfortunately, COPD is irreversible; however, there are ways to alleviate and manage the symptoms.
How Can I Manage the Symptoms of COPD?
There are multiple methods used to alleviate the symptoms of COPD, including the use of pharmaceutical products. Patients can always take medications, such as antibiotics and steroids, as per the recommendation of their physicians. The patient must follow the treatment regimen religously -- how to administer the medication, when to take, and for how long -- ordered by the physician so as to not to encounter complications in the future.
Alternative options to manage the symptoms of COPD include:
- Nasal cannula
- Face mask
- Oxygen tent
- Tracheal oxygen therapy
A patient must attend a consultation with a physician to learn how to properly conduct oxygen therapy. Similar to taking steroids or antibacterial medications, the doctor should assess first, and then give the dosage and timing of your oxygen supply. This can be done while the patient is admitted at the hospital. Doctors can also prescribe oxygen therapy to be conducted at home. Proper health education should be given to maximize the benefits of the regimen. It is also imperative to teach patients and family members about what to avoid when an individual has COPD, and what the patient must be conscious of.
Self-medication or experimentation should not be performed, as this may cause further health complications, such as oxygen toxicity. This starts with the common ailment hyperoxia. Hyperoxia occurs when the partial pressure of oxygen is increased to an unsafe amount, or when a person is exposed to high concentrations of supplemental oxygen. Pathophysiologically, this will cause cellular injury, consequentially releasing free radicals from the cells causing inflammatory response, diminished lung volumes, defective air exchange system, and damaged airways.