The goals of treatment for emphysema are focused on relieving symptoms, helping you breathe easier, and improving your overall health. Treatment is different for each person, and is based on whether symptoms are mild, moderate, or severe. Treatment options may include medications, pulmonary rehabilitation, or surgery. Although emphysema cannot be cured, early treatment can help slow down progression of the disease.
Quitting smoking is the single most important thing you can do to reduce your risk of developing emphysema and slow down the progression of the disease.
Your doctor will recommend treatments for emphysema that help relieve your symptoms and help you breathe easier. However, the condition cannot be cured.
The goals of emphysema treatment are to:
- Relieve your symptoms with no or minimal side effects
- Slow down the progression of the disease
- Improve exercise tolerance (your ability to stay active)
- Prevent and treat complications and sudden onset of problems
- Improve your overall health.
Emphysema treatment is different for each person. The approach is based on whether your symptoms are mild, moderate, or severe. Your family doctor may recommend that you see a lung specialist called a pulmonologist.
Treatment for emphysema may involve one (or a combination) of the following:
- Pulmonary rehabilitation (pulmonary rehab)