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Diagnosing and Treating COPD

Early detection of COPD is key to successful treatment. Don't wait for symptoms to become severe because valuable treatment time could be lost. Most lung disease can be helped with treatment, allowing you to live a longer and better quality life.

How COPD Is Diagnosed

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) includes both chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Most individuals with COPD have a little bit of both, but have a predominance of one or the other. Your doctor will ask questions about your family history with respiratory illnesses, your symptoms and the medicines you use, and ask questions about your lifestyle. He or she will conduct a physical exam and order some laboratory tests to diagnose and assess the severity of your COPD. Here's what to expect »

How COPD Is Treated

Once COPD has been diagnosed, you and your doctor can select the best treatment options to manage your COPD. These may include medications, rehabilitation or surgery that may improve your quality of life. Learn about different treatments for COPD »

For Health Professionals

Get educational resources and tools to help you help your patients with COPD. See facts, reports, research news and other COPD resources for health professionals »

    Reviewed and approved by the American Lung Association Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel. Last reviewed December 14, 2017.

    Page Last Updated: February 14, 2019

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