Medication, treatments, and exercise : treatments for emphysema and COPD

Published 13 Jan 2020 • By Louise Bollecker

Living with emphysema since 2010, Carenity member Ledalle was prescribed several medications as well as a number of respiratory rehabilitation sessions. Here he talks about his treatments and the physical activities they've allowed him to resume.

Medication, treatments, and exercise : treatments for emphysema and COPD

Hello and thank you for agreeing to speak with us! Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I'm a 64-year-old man living with COPD and emphysema since 2010. An x-ray showed I had emphysema, and I was diagnosed with COPD after that. My pulmonologist sent me to a radiologist when he saw the results of my x-ray.


What were the initial symptoms of your respiratory condition?

I kept coming down with bronchitis and getting more and more out of breath when doing normal activities.

Did anyone discuss, or were you concerned about, life expectancy with this condition?

No, at least no one talked to me about that right away. I did have some concerns when they told me it was emphysema because I didn't know anything about it. It's true, they didn't tell me anything else after the x-ray and I had just lost a brother-in-law to lung cancer only 4 months after getting diagnosed. The pulmonologist did talk to me about COPD and told me that I absolutely had to stop smoking.

>> Patient interview: Diagnosed with COPD, how I quit smoking

What treatments have you taken up until this point?

At first, I was put on Miflonide and Foradil in a powder capsule that I needed to burst and then inhale. Then as the illness progressed, I went onto a Fostair NEXThaler and Spiriva. Then my pulmonologist prescribed a new treatment, Elebrato Ellipta and I've only heard good things about it from my friends who have already been taking it for the past few months and who say I should try it. For the time being, I haven't tried any alternative or homoeopathic remedies.

You tried respiratory rehabilitation. What's your opinion on it?

Respiratory rehabilitation is an excellent treatment for our condition because it gets us doing regular exercise, gently, and based on what each person is able to do. I have only good things to say about it; I can breathe better and I've started doing certain daily activities again like bike-riding or walking. It's allowed me to stabilise my condition.

>> Patient Interview: Respiratory therapy and COPD

During the treatment, I learned a lot about emphysema and COPD: how to handle stress, how to breathe better even as the condition advances, how to take care of myself if I get an infection and abdominal breathing techniques that I find really useful. Now that I know what to do, I can do a lot more activities without getting out of breath, I move around and I'm less afraid of going outside.

Emotionally or physically, what's the hardest part of this condition?

Becoming active again. With the shortness of breath, I had stopped doing almost any exercise.

How are you doing today? Is your emphysema painful?

No, emphysema in and of itself is not painful but the shortness of breath can make you tired when you're doing things. As of today, I'm on my third respiratory rehabilitation and I'm able to do a lot more than I could before. I manage better, I breathe better, and there's a lot less fear around the condition because of the things that I learned at my sessions.

What advice would you give to someone who's just been diagnosed?

More than anything, don't let yourself get worked up over it. Go see a pulmonologist who can give you good advice and put you on a treatment. And whatever you do, stop smoking!

avatar Louise Bollecker

Author: Louise Bollecker, Community Manager France

Community Manager of Carenity in France, Louise is also editor-in-chief of the Health Magazine to provide articles, videos and testimonials that focus on patients' experiences and making their voices heard. With a... >> Learn more


on 13/01/2020

Hi I first starting getting breathless when I became a coeliac I was diagnosed with asthma they started me on ventolin and seretide 2 puffs of ventolin morning and night also the same for seretide my purple inhaler ,but since having breast cancer my asthma has got worse now I have been diagnosed with emphysema, I have had rehabilitation exercise, but I couldn't excercise as I had just gone through a mastectomy and just finished radiotherapy I have recently had lots of chest infections I was given another inhaler called a braltus i have to use this morning and at night i have been in hospital with 2 chest infections, and i was given a back up of antibiotics and steroids, if i get chest infections and cough up sputum then i have to take these but i still have to ask for another back up pack ,i have to be very careful as when i am coughing a lot my ribs really hurt and i have to have regular check ups with .my chest specialist, also i have to see my oncologist every six months and every year for 9yrs i have to see my breast surgeon until i get the all clear but everything does cause me to worry a lot which doesn't help my mental health in Feb i am seeing my breast surgery to get my results for my mammogram, i am feeling really nervous, because i dont want to have secondary breast cancer ,Tiger 

on 08/02/2020

Well done Ledalle you’ve managed to crack the nut to bring a degree of normality to your life. So many people ignore the benefits of regularly exercising. There doesn’t seem to be away of convincing them.

on 11/02/2020

I'm 65 years old I have asthma+COPD I was struggling when first diagnosed with COPD frightened to go out on my own but after going to the classes what they sent me on it really changed me gave me a lot more confidence in myself I had a accident + was in hospital for 2 weeks took me a few years to fully recover but getting there slowly I love my husband and children + grandchildren too much to give up on life

on 18/02/2020

I have just completed a Pulmonary Rehab Course and I would thoroughly recommend this to anyone with COPD.  I was diagnosed with COPD a few years ago and seemed to be gradually getting worse but since completing the course my condition has greatly improved to the extent I'm now able to walk uphill without getting too breathless.  I'm continuing with the exercises we were shown how to do and am determined not to let this thing beat me!

You will also like

COPD: Oxygen Therapy, O2 Tank And Rehabilitation


COPD: Oxygen Therapy, O2 Tank And Rehabilitation

See the testimonial
Quitting smoking, a fight against COPD


Quitting smoking, a fight against COPD

See the testimonial
See the testimonial
COPD diagnosis: Carenity members tell their story


COPD diagnosis: Carenity members tell their story

Read the article

Most commented discussions

Fact sheet