COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) is a medical term used to describe progressive lung diseases, like chronic bronchitis and emphysema, that cause inflammation and restrict airflow to the lungs. Its symptoms include difficulty breathing, wheezing, sputum (phlegm) production and chronic cough.
Typically, COPD is caused by years of excessive exposure to harmful substances, such as industrial gases, chemical fumes and cigarette smoking. It can also be inherited through genetics. While there is no cure, it can be treated with inhalers.
Inhalers are used to control the symptoms of COPD. Some of the best inhalers for COPD contain medications that open the respiratory air passages in your lungs by relaxing the surrounding muscles, allowing more air to flow. Additionally, inhalers may decrease exacerbations (flare-ups) that can cause damage to your lungs.
Top Eight Triggers of COPD
Even if your COPD is controlled by using an inhaler, it is a medical condition that will always be with you.
However, there are some indoor and outdoor substances, known as triggers, that you should know about. Avoiding or minimizing your exposure to these triggers can help prevent COPD flare-ups.
- Fumes – The fumes from cleaning solutions, vehicles, paints and different types of gases can trigger a flare-up.
- Dust – Dust particles around your home are small enough to enter the lungs and cause sudden breathing problems.
- Pet dander – Your favorite furry critters produce dander that builds up around your home and can become harmful to you.
- Strong odors – Scents from candles, air fresheners and even cooking can act as triggers.
- Hot and cold temperatures – Extreme hot and cold temperatures can create an adverse reaction.
- Air pollution – The smell of gasoline from a gas pump or fumes from a factory can pollute the air and trigger a flare-up.
- Pollen – Spring time can spread high levels of pollen through the air you breathe.
- Cigarette smoke – Secondhand smoke can wreak havoc on your lungs.
Advair is a COPD maintenance inhaler that contains “fluticasone” (corticosteroid) and salmeterol (long-acting bronchodilator). It may be prescribed by your doctor to control the symptoms of COPD. In fact, it has been clinically proven that Advair can decrease the number of COPD exacerbations you have.
It is not intended to be used as a rescue inhaler, but should be taken to prevent COPD flare-ups and damages caused by COPD. This medication is formulated to help you in three ways:
- As an anti-inflammatory.
- It may control COPD symptoms.
- It can improve lung function.
The Advair Diskus should be taken two times a day, every day to prevent symptoms and exacerbations associated with COPD. You should take one inhalation in the morning and one at night. It does not replace your rescue inhaler.
Symbicort is a long-acting inhaler used to prevent COPD symptoms, such as wheezing, coughing and bronchospasms. A bronchospasm is a sudden tightening of the muscles in the walls of the bronchioles. This medication contains two active ingredients:
- Budesonide – A corticosteroid used to relieve inflammation, irritation and swelling.
- Formoterol – A bronchodilator that relaxes tightened muscles in air passages to improve breathing.
To use a Symbicort inhaler, you should shake it for at least five seconds before using. Your doctor may suggest you take two puffs by mouth. Make sure you wait one minute between puffs.
Two puffs should be taken twice daily, every 12 hours. Afterwards, rinse your mouth out thoroughly to prevent irritation and infection (thrush). It is suggested that results may be achieved within five minutes.
Spiriva Respimat is a COPD maintenance inhaler that can start to improve your lung function with the first dose. It is specifically formulated with tiotropium, an anticholinergic bronchodilator, to work over a period of time to relax the tightened muscles in the lungs and keep them relaxed for 24 hours.
You will notice the full effect of Spiriva after two weeks. You should not use this medication for sudden breathing problems.
The Spiriva inhaler has to be assembled before using. You should take only one inhalation every day. If you don’t feel the medication working, your lungs will. Spiriva requires time before it can work.
If you continue to have bronchospasms and your current bronchodilator doesn’t seem to be controlling your COPD, your doctor may prescribe Combivent Respimat. This medication enables the muscles surrounding your airways to relax and open by combining two bronchodilators:
- Ipratropium bromide – A beta-agonist that can also control wheezing and coughing.
- Albuterol – An anticholinergic that can prevent a bronchospasm and improve airflow to the lungs.
Before using, the inhaler requires some assembly. Your doctor may recommend that you take one puff four times a day. You should not exceed six inhalations in a 24 hour period. Many people have reported feeling relief in as little as 15 minutes after taking Combivent.