Treatment of Mild COPD

Stage 1 Treatment Options

The Global Initiative for Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) classifies COPD into four stages, with mild COPD being Stage I of the disease. If you are diagnosed with Stage I, your ratio of FEV1 to FVC as measured by spirometry should fall below 70% and your FEV1 should be greater than or equal to 80% predicted of a healthy population.

The good news about being in the early stages of the disease is that you can easily slow its progression, as long as you're willing to make a few basic lifestyle changes and follow your COPD treatment plan. What should that treatment plan consist of? Let's take a look.

Smoking Cessation

Quit Smoking
Quit Smoking. Photo c of, user David Hegarty

Quitting smoking is the most important aspect of COPD treatment at any stage of the disease. Not only does smoking cessation make you feel better physically and emotionally, but it will ultimately (dramatically in some cases) slow the progression of the disease.

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Flu and Pneumonia Vaccines

Vaccines for COPD
Now This Won't Hurt a Bit!. Photo courtesy of, user foreversoul

According to GOLD, flu shots can reduce COPD morbidity and mortality rates by about 50 percent.  Additionally, the pneumonia vaccine is recommended for those who are 65 years of age and older because it reduces the chances of aquiring bacterial pneumonia, a very common cause of COPD exacerbation.

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Short-Acting Bronchodilators

How to use an inhaler
How to Use a Bronchodilator Inhaler. Photo Courtesy of Getty Images

Although bronchodilators do little to modify lung function decline during stage I, mild COPD, short-acting bronchodilators like Albuterol or Proventil (also known as rescue inhalers) are recommended on an as-needed basis for the relief of persistent or worsening COPD symptoms.

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Healthy Nutrition

It's true, a healthy diet cannot cure COPD, but it can help you feel better and give you more energy for all of your daily activities, including breathing. Eating right can also help you fight chest infections, which are common among patients with COPD.

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Functional Fitness for COPD
Functional Fitness for COPD DVD. Photo courtesy of Suzanne Andrews

The importance of daily exercise is often overlooked when deciding upon a COPD treatment plan. But an exercise program can help you regain a sense of control over your life, increase your self-esteem and improve your overall quality of life, no matter where you're at in the course of your disease.


Global Initiative for Obstructive Lung Disease. Global Strategy for the Diagnosis, Management and Prevention of COPD. Updated 2010.

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