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New Treatments for COPD: March 19, 2011

COPD; Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. It's getting a lot of attention these days. "We've seen the commercials on television more and more now. You'll see commercials for various agents," says Lee Memorial Health System pulmonary and critical care physician, Dr. Sunil Pammi.

Along with more attention, more treatment options. "Treatment for COPD has really advanced over the last 5 to 10 years. Not in the near future, but in the intermediate future there may be some medications that are being worked on that will work in different ways as well, maybe in tablet form as well."

COPD occurs when airways become damaged. Smoking and other environmental factors can cause airways to lose their elasticity which makes breathing difficult. "We're using inhalers. We don't really cure COPD but we treat it. We offset the symptoms." For now, Dr. Pammi says he's using a variety of treatment options. "The different inhalers we use: inhaled steroids, as well as a combination with bronchodialaters and different types of bronchodialators that work in different ways."

Dr. Pammi also stresses that pulmonary rehabilitation is an intricate part of treating people with COPD because it can help to expand the airways. Therapists can design a special workout routine based on an individual's needs.