a woman using an inhaler to treat her COPD symptoms

Inhalers for COPD

Many people have heard the term COPD before, but many people are unaware of what it means. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a condition that causes difficulty breathing. People with COPD experience fatigue, wheezing and frequent coughing. The more advanced symptoms of the condition are swollen limbs, headaches and fatigued muscles.

If you have been diagnosed with COPD, your doctor might suggest an inhaler for your symptoms. An inhaler cannot completely reverse the condition, but it can make breathing less strenuous. Below is more information on COPD and how an inhaler may be right for you.

What causes COPD?

COPD can be caused by bronchitis or emphysema. When the condition is caused by bronchitis, airways in the lungs produce an excess amount of mucus. Bronchitis causes a constant cough, and breathing is difficult when your lungs are filled with mucus. Symptoms of bronchitis are usually worse in cold weather. When the condition is caused by emphysema, air sacs in the lungs are damaged. People with damage caused by emphysema have a hard time exhaling air. Smoking is a risk factor for COPD.

How can it be treated with an inhaler?

Inhalers are portable devices that deliver COPD medications that can administer medications in the form of a mist or a dry powder. The medicine is inhaled into the airways. Symptoms usually subside within five minutes, and medications may relieve symptoms for six hours. Bronchodilators are used to treat symptoms and prevent breathing problems.

What COPD medications are administered via an inhaler? 

Medications used to treat short- and long-term symptoms include beta2-agonists or anticholinergics. A combination of these medications can also be used to treat symptoms. Corticosteroids can also be combined with these medications. Steroids can reduce inflammation in the lungs.

In addition to using an inhaler, there are other ways to improve your breathing. Breathing with your lips pursed can help you exhale the air in your lungs. Breathe in through your nose and exhale with your lips pursed. You can also lay flat with your hand on your stomach. While doing this, you should keep your chest still and watch your hand move on your stomach. Aerobic exercises can also improve breathing.

Last Updated: October 04, 2017