Which therapy is there and what must the sick person pay attention to?
The aim of the treatment is that the disease does not progress and the affected person can live well with it; Changes already made can not be reversed. The most important measures are strict non-smoking and the avoidance of environmental stimuli and allergenic substances. In addition, there are breathing exercises, inhalation and tapping massages, medicines for inhalation or in tablet form (especially cortisone and means for expanding the airway) and later oxygen therapy (at least 16 hours a day). In the final stage must be switched to an artificial respiration by means of mask or tube.
Surgery rarely needed
In individual cases, surgical measures, such as a reduction in volume or in younger patients a lung transplantation are indicated, but only to a limited extent promising. In principle, close collaboration with the attending physician and controls by him are important. Medications must be taken regularly and correctly, infections should be avoided (eg through vaccinations) and - if they do occur - treated quickly and consistently. The sufferer should learn to recognize and treat (worsen) his illness early.
Significant body signals in lung disease include coughing, expectoration, respiratory distress, drug need and sinking peak flow (exhalation levels that can be self-determined by the sufferer). Meaningful is always a patient training - addresses mediated by the family doctor. Since the already existing changes in the lung tissue are final, the prognosis is strongly influenced by how well it is possible to delay the course of the disease and avoid complications. In principle, life expectancy and quality are severely limited.