Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a common lung disease that makes breathing difficult. There are two types of COPD: chronic bronchitis, which involves a long-term cough with mucus; and emphysema, which involves damage to the lungs over time. Most patients have a combination of both. At Penn State Health, we work with our patients to ease the progressive symptoms of COPD.
- Care at Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
- Groups, Classes & Support
- Research & Clinical Trials
- Symptoms, Diagnosis & Outlook
Care at Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
Penn State Health is proud to have three state-of-the-art spirometers, which performs the best lung function test for COPD. This involves blowing out as hard as possible into a small machine that tests lung capacity. The results can be checked right away.
Doctors may also use a stethoscope to listen to the lungs, as well as take imaging tests of the lungs, such as x-rays and CT scans. Sometimes, a blood test called arterial blood gas may be done to measure the amounts of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood.
There is no cure for COPD, and it is a long-term disease. But there are many things you can do to relieve symptoms and keep the disease from getting worse.
If you smoke, your doctor will help you find support to quit. This is the best way to slow lung damage.
Medicines you may be prescribed include:
- Inhalers (bronchodilators) to help open the airways
- Inhaled or oral steroids to reduce lung inflammation
- Anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce swelling in the airways
- Certain long-term antibiotics
In severe cases or during flare-ups, you may need to receive:
- Steroids by mouth or through a vein
- Bronchodilators through a nebulizer
- Oxygen therapy
- Assistance from a machine to help breathing
In very rare and severe cases, surgery may be needed.
The healthcare team at Penn State Health is dedicated to providing our patients with the highest quality care through a coordinated team approach.
Departments and centers that play a role in treating COPD include:
Penn State Medicine Suite
200 Campus Drive
Entrance 4, Suite 2400
Hershey, PA 17033
Groups, Classes & Support
Support groups provide an opportunity to share your feelings and connect with other parents and caregivers who are experiencing similar struggles.
Research & Clinical Trials
We have an active clinical science research program, and we frequently seek volunteers to participate in clinical trials. These studies help our scientists improve diagnostic techniques, develop better treatments, and collaborate with other researchers.
To see all clinical trials and learn how to volunteer, visit StudyFinder.