Symptoms and Treatment of COPD for New England Sufferers

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one of the leading causes of New England disability. As Boston Social Security disability lawyers, we help many people who have been forced to quit their jobs because of this disease. We understand how important it is for COPD patients to understand their ailment: what it is and how it is treated.

Here is some information about COPD that may help you to decide when and if you need to apply for New England Social Security disability benefits.

Symptoms of COPD:

While the symptoms of this disease vary for different people, the following are likely, and usually patients have more than one of them. Before these symptoms become too serious to allow you to work, you may want to look into applying for SSA disability, thus planning for the future.

  • Constant coughing: Some call it a “smoker’s cough.” 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness
  • Fatigue
  • Recurring respiratory infections
  • Difficulty breathing and/or taking a deep breath

Treatment for COPD:

No one plans to get COPD, but when you receive the diagnosis, your first question is likely to be, “What can be done?” Today there are more effective treatments than ever before available to you. Because there is no cure yet for COPD, treatment aims to help lessen the symptoms and slow the progress of the disease. Here are some of the most common:


  • Bronchodilators are most often taken using an inhaler. This allows the medicine to go directly to your lungs. These medications are designed to relax the muscles that surround your airways and help to open them.
  • Inhaled steroids (glucocorticosteroids) are also inhaled. They are especially useful for patients who suffer from flare-ups or more severe symptoms. They are aimed at reducing the inflammation of the airways.


  • Flu shots are important for COPD sufferers because they can become very seriously ill from a case of the flu.
  • Pneumonia shots are also often recommended because a person with COPD is more likely to get pneumonia than someone without it.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation (rehab):

This is a supervised program designed especially for those suffering lung problems. Rehab may include:

  • A carefully designed exercise program
  • Disease management training
  • Counseling for both nutrition and psychological issues

Oxygen Therapy

When COPD is severe, you may be put on oxygen to:

  • Help raise the levels of oxygen in your blood.
  • Lessen symptoms and help you to be more active.
  • Lessen damage to your heart and other organs.
  • Live a longer life.


Very rarely, surgery may be considered for people who do not respond to other treatments. 

Are You Looking for a Social Security Disability Attorney in Boston, MA?

If you are looking to apply for social security disability, you need to speak with an experienced social security disability lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Natick Office directly at 508.283.5500 to schedule your free consultation.

John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney, Massachusetts Social Security Disability Lawyer