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Lung Bacteria and COPD by Peter Henry

By July 8, 2016 1400 Views No comments

New Research on Lung Bacteria could mean new treatment for Some Types of COPD

Everyone's lungs have hundreds of types of bacteria living in them all the time. These colonies are both potentially good and bad depending on their effects on the body. The colonies of bacteria living in our lungs is called a microbiome and researchers are working towards better understanding it to help create new treatments for COPD and ultimately to unveil the causes of COPD.1

Is COPD Treatment Hurting or Helping Your Microbiome?

Each day your lungs are exposed to pathogens and chemicals and sometimes even drugs for COPD treatments or other conditions. Every time we are exposed to these environmental factors one side in the war ends up winning.

How do Breathing Treatments for COPD Affect it?

DeVilbiss Pulmo-Aide

For many individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder a treatment plan involves using a handheld inhaler. While the benefits of bronchodilators and inhaled corticosteroids are convenience, portability and sometimes life-saving, the downsides are the many people don't use them correctly and that the treatments deal with symptoms rather than the cause. Many doctors who prescribe inhalers can't explain to patients how to properly use inhalers.2 Individuals who use inhalers have different bacteria in their lungs but researchers don't yet know why or what this means for individuals with COPD.3 Some researchers seem to think taking a corticosteroid alone could have serious effects by increasing bacterial populations.4

Nebulizer treatments for COPD are used for antibiotics, bronchodilators, corticosteroids, and several other types of medications. Some nebulizer treatments like TOBI tobramycin solution for inhalation need a special nebulizer like the DeVilbiss Pulmo Aide to even administer the medication.

Researchers have found that if they treat their patients with antibiotics alone the population of lung bacteria becomes much less diverse, eliminating many bad bacteria. The growth of these bacteria is then delayed for a time. If treatment for COPD includes a steroid the bacteria populations increase faster once again.4

What Does this Mean for Your COPD?

MABIS CompXP Deluxe Compressor Nebulizer

The treatments for COPD available at this time are mostly used to combat symptoms during exacerbation. The final effect on the cause of COPD is still unknown. Finding the best way to deal with these symptoms is the greatest concern. Nebulizer therapy can be a much better option for many individuals especially because they are usually easier to use than inhalers. Ease of use and portability don't need to be sacrificed to use a nebulizer. For instance, using nebulizer like the MABIS CompXP Deluxe Compressor Nebulizer can greatly reduce the limitations of using a standard nebulizer. Adherence to a COPD treatment program can be critical to recovery and prevention of future exacerbations.5

What Can You do Now?

Oxygen Concentator Comparison Chart

Learning as much as you can about treatments is the best option for COPD exacerbation prevention. Knowing how to select the right oxygen concentrator and using it properly can help you to get the correct amount of oxygen your body needs. Getting a complete run-down on how to properly complete your nebulizer treatment can make a huge difference on your overall quality of life. Knowledge and committment are most beneficial to prevent future exacerbations.


1R., Dy; S., Sethi. The lung microbiome and exacerbations of COPD. Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine. May 2016, Volume 22, Issue 3 p. 196-202. Web. 6 July, 2016. .

2Alismail, A. et al. Diverse Inhaler Devices: A Big Challenge for Health-Care Professionals Respiratory Care. May 1, 2016 vol. 61 No. 5 pp.593-599. Web. 8 July, 2016.

3Pragman, A. A. et al. The Lung Microbiome in Moderate and Severe Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. PLOS one Open Access PLoS ONE 7(10): e47305. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0047305. Web. 7 July, 2016.

4Huang, Y. J. Et al. Airway Microbiome Dynamics in Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Journal of Clinical Microbiology. 2014 Aug; 52(8): 2813-2823. Web. 7 July., 2016.

5Santos-Longhurst, A. Nebulizers for Sever COPD. Web. 8 July, 2016.

Peter Henry, Author

Vitality Medical
7910 South 3500 East, Suite C
Salt Lake City, UT 84121
(801) 733-4449
[email protected]

Peter Henry Profile

Posted in: Respiratory Therapy