Updates on COPD at CHEST 2014 meeting in Austin, Texas
On October 28, Updates on COPD were presented at the CHEST 2014 meeting in Austin, Texas. New information was presented by experts in COPD, and the session was attended by medical and pharmaceutical professionals.
Here are the key messages for those with COPD and their families.
Dr. Barry Make reviewed studies on medications used to treat COPD that have been published recently. He concluded that we have learned a lot about these medications, and emphasized that the primary reasons to treat those with COPD are to reduce symptoms (shortness of breath is the main complaint) and to reduce the risk of an exacerbation (worsening in breathing and coughing usually due to a chest infection).
In conclusion, Dr. Make described the “personalized medicine” approach for treating those with COPD:
1. The best possible therapy
2. For each patient
3. At the right time
4. To achieve the desired results.
You may wish to discuss this approach with your doctor.
Dr. Sanjay Sethi reviewed treatments when those with COPD experience an exacerbation (worsening of symptoms usually due to a chest infection). His “take home” message was that prednisone (a corticsosteroid) is not always needed as treatment for a COPD exacerbation, and that benefits of prednisone (reducing inflammation) must be weighed against possible side effects. He also summarized a study that showed that 40 mg of prednisone each day for 5 days for treating a COPD exacerbation was as effective as longer courses of prednisone.
Dr. Nicolo Hanania reviewed other conditions (called comorbidities) that may occur in someone who has COPD. These include heart problems and high blood pressure (cardiovascular disease), thinning of the bones (osteoporosis), anxiety and depression, lung cancer, and heartburn (gastroesophageal reflux). Dr. Hanania pointed out that COPD is, “not just a lung disease.” He also stated that a higher number of other conditions in addition to COPD generally lead to more health problems, and Dr. Hanania encouraged early recognition and treatment of these other conditions.
Make sure to review and discuss any other medical problems that you might have with your doctor so they can be treated effectively.
During a discussion after the presentations, Dr. Helgo Magnussen commented that physical inactivity was another important factor that can lead to poor outcomes for those with COPD, and he emphasized the benefits of regular physical activity.
Dr Barry Make is Professor of Medicine at National Jewish Health Care and the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver