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This information was reviewed and approved by Russell P. Bowler, MD, PhD, Irina Petrache, MD (2/28/2021).

At National Jewish Health, health care providers believe people with COPD can lead active full lives. Our treatment goal is to help people with COPD take charge of their breathing and maintain their quality of life.

What are your COPD treatment goals?

People with COPD should become active in the treatment and management of their disease. Participating in your treatment plan will help you and your family take charge of your breathing. Talk with your health care provider about treatment that will help you achieve your goals.


COPD Management Includes:

Avoiding Infections

Although it is important to take preventive measures to avoid lung infections, you do not need to isolate yourself from other people. There is no guaranteed way to prevent infections, however, if you are proactive with your vaccines, wash your hands thoroughly (with soap) and frequently; and are aware of your surroundings, then you will increase your chances of living an infection-free life. Learn about avoiding infections.



Your health care provider may prescribe medications to control the symptoms of COPD, like bronchodilators for COPD, combination bronchodilators and anti-inflammatories, and antibiotics. Learn about  COPD medicines, tips for managing all your medications and techniques to inhale medications.



Immunizations for influenza and other respiratory infections (e.g. COVID-19) may reduce your risk of infection and exacerbations.


Oxygen Therapy

Some people with COPD may benefit from oxygen therapy. Oxygen therapy is used to ensure there is enough oxygen in the blood to provide for the body's needs. Learn about oxygen therapy.


Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Because of the many aspects involved in the care and management of life with COPD, you may choose to participate in a pulmonary rehabilitation program, which involves tailored treatment for your needs. Learn about pulmonary rehabilitation.


Lung Volume Reduction Surgery (LVRS)

Lung volume reduction surgery is considered for adults with certain patterns of severe emphysema. Specific tests are done to determine if lung volume reduction surgery is recommended. These tests include breathing tests, a chest CT scan, arterial blood gas (ABG), lung perfusion study and exercise test. Learn more about LVRS.

For more than 100 years, National Jewish Health has been committed to finding new treatments and cures for diseases. Search our clinical trials.