What is COPD? Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a chronic condition that makes breathing difficult. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are large contributors to developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
What Is Emphysema?
Emphysema is a condition where the aiolis in the lungs are severely damaged or destroyed due to cigarette smoke.
What Is Chronic Bronchitis?
Chronic bronchitis consists of the constant swelling of the bronchial tubes, characterized by high mucus production and chronic cough.
What Are The Symptoms Of COPD?
COPD mostly affects the respiratory tract, meaning most symptoms cause breathing trouble. Symptoms of COPD may be mild at first but are known to worsen over time as your lungs weaken. Common COPD symptoms consist of:
- Difficulty breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Chronic cough
- Blueness of the lips and nail beds
- Large mucus production (phlegm)
- Frequent respiratory infections
Other Complications of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
This disease can contribute to other complications, such as heart disease, lung cancer, or general heart issues.
What Are The Causes of COPD?
The most common causes of the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease include long-term exposure to cigarette smoke or secondhand smoke, and air pollutants.
Who Is At Risk For COPD?
Older people are usually diagnosed with COPD due to the amount of exposure they have throughout their lifetime. Specifically, people who smoke or used to smoke are at significant risk for developing COPD.
Additionally, those who have lived in areas with high levels of air pollution for a long time are at an increased risk of developing COPD.
People with asthma are also more likely to develop the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, especially when asthma is paired with smoking.
How Is COPD Diagnosed?
Before you are officially diagnosed, your medical provider will take note of your symptoms and get a full record of your medical history. They will likely ask you questions about your smoking habits (if any), or about the air quality where you live.
Once your medical provider has sufficient information on your symptoms and history, there are a few tests that they can run to diagnose you officially. Common tests include:
- Breathing test (spirometry)
- Chest x-rays
- Blood tests
How To Prevent COPD
COPD can be easily prevented by quitting smoking, as well as decreasing the amount of time you are exposed to secondhand smoke or air pollutants such as gas fumes, dust, chemicals, and vapors.
What Are The Treatment Options?
COPD is a chronic condition, meaning there is no known cure. However, your medical provider can provide treatment options to lessen the symptoms.
The number one piece of advice your provider will give you is to stop smoking immediately, or significantly limit your time around secondhand smoke. Additionally, they will likely recommend placing air purifiers around your home to ensure you are breathing clean, fresh air.
Your medical provider may also prescribe medicine to reduce chronic coughing or wheezing. Additionally, you may be placed into pulmonary rehabilitation. Throughout this rehabilitation, you will be taught methods of breathing, as well as other methods that can lessen the symptoms of COPD.
For more severe cases, you may need to receive a lung transplant.
What Kind Of Medical Providers Treat COPD?
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a fairly common condition and can be treated by most primary care practices. At MainStreet Family Care, COPD treatment is included in our primary care services.
Additionally, pulmonologists are explicitly trained in treating the disease, which can be beneficial in more severe cases.
Turn To MainStreet Family Care
MainStreet Family Care sees patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease frequently, and we would love to assist you on your healing journey. All you need to do is sign up for the patient portal, and we will handle the rest.