Yuma, Arizona (NAPSI) - Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a disease that makes it hard to breathe, affects millions of Americans and is the third leading cause of death in the United States.

COPD can be debilitating, and while millions are diagnosed, it is estimated that many suffer from the disease but are unaware they have it. There is no cure for COPD; however, there are treatments and everyday lifestyle changes that can help.

If you or someone you know suffers from COPD, it is important to understand the treatments available, as well as the lifestyle changes that can be undertaken.

Treatments for COPD

If you are diagnosed with COPD, there are a wide range of COPD treatment options available. Two types that are often used include: short-acting bronchodilators, to help relieve sudden COPD symptoms, and long-acting maintenance medicines, like SYMBICORT (budesonide/ formoterol fumarate dihydrate), to help reduce inflammation and ease constriction in your airways.

In addition, vaccines, antibiotics, and a variety of nonmedicinal COPD treatments are also used. For example:

• Pulmonary rehabilitation is a structured program that can reduce symptoms of COPD. Depending on your needs, a pulmonary rehabilitation program might include exercise training, nutrition counseling, and education on special breathing techniques and other means of coping with COPD. Your doctor will know if a program like this is right for you.

• Regular exercise can increase your energy levels, improve your circulation, reduce symptoms, and increase your endurance. Talk to your doctor about how much physical activity and what kinds of activities are best for you. These might be stretching exercises, an aerobic exercise like walking, or exercise aimed at strengthening your muscles.

Of course, you can do many things on your own, like talking to your doctor about stopping smoking and choosing a healthy diet. Colds, the flu, and other respiratory infections cause problems for people with COPD, so it’s important that you do your best to avoid them and consider the appropriate vaccinations.

It is important to maintain an open dialogue about your COPD treatment plan with your doctor. Describe your symptoms and list all medicines you are currently taking as well as any side effects you may be experiencing. Ask what medication may be right for you. And importantly, ask questions if you do not understand something your doctor tells you.

What Are the Benefits of Taking SYMBICORT?

Taken twice daily, SYMBICORT has been shown to help significantly improve lung function, starting within five minutes.† Remember, SYMBICORT will not replace a rescue inhaler for sudden symptoms. SYMBICORT combines two medicines to help ease constriction and control inflammation in your airways. SYMBICORT may make a significant difference in breathing.†

† Your results may vary.

Where Can I Learn More?

From talking to your doctor, online at www.MySYMBICORT.com, and by calling (800) 236-9933 (AZ Information Center).