The treatment plan depends a lot on how far the disease has progressed. There are 4 stages to assist physicians in their treatment plans. These stages are categorized on the severity of symptoms and airflow measured.
1. Avoidance – aka: stop smoking
2. Use a quick acting inhaler that dilates the narrowed airways (such as Albuterol)
3. Add a long acting bronchodilator medication. The doctor may also add inhaled steroids if the person is having frequent and increasing episodes of shortness of breath. Pulmonary rehab may also be a consideration at this point
4. Add long term oxygen therapy