Is COPD curable


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common one Respiratory diseasewhich runs in different stages. she is not curable and is alleviated by various medical measures. In addition to therapeutic interventions, rehabilitation is your most important option Relief of symptoms and relief of everyday life to disposal.

Definition of COPD

The chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) includes various forms of diseases of the lungs and bronchi, including pulmonary emphysema and chronic obstructive bronchitis. They are listed in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) under the ICD code J44.

At a Emphysema the body is no longer adequately supplied with oxygen due to partially destroyed or over-inflated alveoli (alveoli). The symptoms are primarily shortness of breath and an associated decrease in performance. The chronic obstructive (obstructive = narrowing) bronchitis is characterized by a narrowing of the airways, which is associated with an increased susceptibility to infection.

Specific to COPD is the Irreversibility of the disease. Symptoms and signs of illness that already exist cannot be cured or traced back. The central Symptoms are referred to as the so-called AHA effect. these are Sputum, cough and shortness of breathwhich gradually worsen as the disease progresses.

Causes of COPD

The Main risk factorthat promotes disease development is that Smoke. An average of 80 to 90 percent of all diseases in the COPD spectrum have their origin in cigarette smoke. This applies to both active smoking and passive smoking.

Research has shown that decades of smoking contribute to this about 50 percent of all smokers in the course of life to one chronic bronchitis. Develop from this sufferer 20 percent the disease COPD, below three times as many men compared to women. Passive smoking also leads to illness if it is long-term and regular.

Besides the cigarette smoke are also other risk factors possible, which favor the development of COPD. These include, for example high levels of particulate matter and a high air pollution. Some cases of illness go beyond this genetic causes back. This includes the hereditary disease alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency (ALPHA-1), in which the liver cells produce too little or an incorrect amount of the enzyme. The metabolic disease leads to a breakdown of the lung tissue over time.

Course of the disease

The development of COPD is creeping. Your initially healthy lungs are able to clean themselves. If the pollutants, which mainly include cigarette smoke, are permanently supplied to the lungs, this ability to clean will fail over time. The Cilia of the lungswhose job is to remove small particles, gradually stop working and stick together. It arise chronic inflammationthat become a increased mucus formation to lead. It comes to increasing shortness of breath, and the mucus produced is difficult to cough up over time.

The process is taking place over years. At the beginning is a occasional cough ascertain. Come later Sputum and shortness of breath added. The intervals between the individual symptoms become shorter. Always poor lung function leads to a significantly lower oxygen supply to the blood. Infections, pneumonia and the specific heart failure "Cor pulmonale" (lung heart) develop. In the significantly advanced stage of the disease, COPD life threatening and is associated with a lower life expectancy.


For a reliable diagnosis, the doctor will first find out about your Medical history. Patients often confuse the disease with asthma at first, as the initial symptoms are similar.

If you smoke, the duration and frequency as well as the detailed symptoms, including coughing and shortness of breath, will be asked for. With a stethoscope the doctor will listen to your lungs. Are at this one examination To determine abnormalities, a referral is usually made to a pulmonologist.

In the medical examination various tests are performed, most notably breathing through one Spirometer to determine the lung volume. It also measures the oxygen level in your blood. For this there is a Blood gas analysis instead, which provides detailed information about the effectiveness of the lung function.

When diagnosing COPD, there is a classification based on four degrees of severity, the so-called GOLD classification (GOLD = Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease). The division determines the therapeutic measures and the associated rehabilitation.

Ways of prevention

The most important task is one stop smoking immediately. The disease cannot be improved, but it can be postponed and stopped at an early stage. Furthermore, all lung-damaging influences avoided, for example occupational activities associated with pollutants. Inflammation and disease options should also be limited as much as possible, for example through flu vaccinations and appropriate hygiene measures.

To strengthen your immune system sustainably and in the long term is a healthy lifestyle helpful. This primarily includes a healthy and balanced diet, sufficient exercise and an appropriate body weight.

Medical treatment

In the case of the incurable disease, the drug relief of breathing difficulties in focus. If necessary, your doctor will prescribe medication to dilate the airways. There are medications for long-term use and others that are taken in acute respiratory distress.

Against inflammatory processes in the lungs are Cortisone preparations frequent remedy of choice and for problems with coughing up expectorant substances. Also one Oxygen therapy in the long term is a possibility in the advanced stage of the disease.

In the case of severe disease courses in the late stage that no longer respond to drug therapy or rehabilitation, a Operation conceivableused to make breathing easier. A final option is that Lung transplant, which is used in individual cases.

Post-treatment rehabilitation

The rehabilitation measures consist of one structured program of at least three weeks. They serve first and foremost

  • training the respiratory muscles,
  • the development of strength and endurance,
  • the stabilization of the immune system and
  • comprehensive patient training.

The Rehabilitation is an essential component in dealing with COPD. It will enable you to cope with the disease on a day-to-day basis and to remain stable for as long as possible. Your performance will be strengthened and you will gain confidence and competence in dealing with the symptoms. If you have a Smoking cessation wish, this will be made possible for you as part of the rehabilitation. You also have all the options of an accompanying if necessary psychological care open.


Diagnosing COPD poses a major challenge for patients. she is not curable and means one lifelong challenge in dealing with a variety of symptoms, especially shortness of breath and inflammation. At the same time, you have the opportunity to actively do a lot for the To delay the course of the disease and strengthen their health. Your attending doctor will support you in this, as will the range of rehabilitation measures that are available to you.

last changed on: May 3rd, 2019

Share this post now