COPD, also known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is commonly treated with inhalers containing various medications. By using an inhaler, these COPD medications can be breathed straight into the lungs where they penetrate even the smallest vessels and airways. Only small doses of these medications are required on a daily basis, but still they are highly effective. Doctors and patients must work together to choose one of the various types of treatment inhalers, as different people may react better to certain medications. Knowing which inhaled COPD medication to try first can be overwhelming given the number of options. Here are eight myths about COPD inhalers that most people aren't aware of.
Myth: Regardless of whether you use an inhaler, COPD will diminish your lung functioning at the same rate.
COPD is a progressively worsening disease, but a COPD inhaler can greatly reduce the progression of this disease. Inhalers generally work as long as you use them as directed. However, making healthy lifestyle choices such as quitting smoking will make them even more effective.
Myth: Inhalers don't work unless you feel the results.
Not all inhaled COPD medications cause instant results -- some are long-acting medications that lead to good results over time. There are fast-acting inhalers to address symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and gasping, and there are long-acting inhalers that reduce the severity of symptoms over time and slow the progression of COPD.
Myth: It doesn't matter which inhaler you use.
Your choice of inhaler matters greatly. With all the COPD inhalers available today, you must work closely with your doctor to discover which one works best for you.'
Myth: Inhalers are only needed when you're suffering from symptom flare-ups.
Some inhalers are designed to quell flare-ups, but others are long-acting inhalers that must be used as directed on an ongoing basis, regardless of whether symptoms are immediately present. However, if you're experiencing a massive flare-up of symptoms, then you should call for emergency help.
Myth: Steroid inhalers have all kinds of bad side effects such as weight gain and hair loss.
Steroids can have negative side effects, but suffering from hair loss, weight gain or other serious side effects requires high dosages over longer periods of time. The doses in COPD inhalers are much smaller, and also this isn't a medication that patients are asked to take regularly for extended periods.
Myth: You can still smoke while using COPD inhaler medications.
Smoking is possibly the worst thing a person with COPD can do. Lighting up while using inhaler medications will nullify positive effects and ultimately result in your COPD worsening faster. Quit smoking if you've been diagnosed with COPD.
Myth: Using an inhaler makes COPD patients feel better.
COPD inhalers are designed to help patients live longer, more comfortable lives. However, there are times when inhalers won't make the patient feel completely better, even if their worst symptoms are alleviated. Some people use their inhalers more than directed, thinking that will help -- but it doesn't. It's very important to not deviate from the doctor's instructions.
Myth: Using your inhaler less often can help you save.
Why are you worried about trying to save money by not taking your medication? Failing to get your required treatment will just result in more expensive medical bills down the road. Always use your COPD inhaler as directed.