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Saturday, April 16, 2011

COPD attack, no one around: what can you do?

A patient just asked me: "I have emphysema, and I was lucky that I was with a friend because I had bronchospasms so bad I couldn't talk, and I couldn't help myself. What can I do if this were to happen and no one was around?

My humble answer: The best thing for you to do is ask that same question to your doctor. Although, if I were your doctor, I'd make sure you always have a rescue inhaler on hand so you can at least try to use it. However, I think the best way of dealing with a situation like that is to not let it happen. I think your doctor will make sure you get put on a medicine like Advair or Symbicort and/or spiriva, all of which are proven to improve lung function. On these controller meds you should be able to prevent an attack as you described, and, if you do have an attack, it won't be as severe.

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