More than 15 million Americans have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), an incurable lung disease that gets progressively worse. In the United States, this combination of chronic bronchitis and emphysema are almost exclusively the results of chronic tobacco use. Bothe primary use of tobacco and secondhand exposure can produce this condition.
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What is COPD?
It can be confusing, because Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is both an umbrella term for a group of chronic conditions that affect your respiratory health and also a specific term describing chronic bronchitis and emphysema secondary to cigarette smoking. The COPD of smokers is our primary concern.
- Chronic bronchitis – cigarette smoke causes inflammation of the bronchial tubes, scarring and distortion and the overproduction of mucus glands producing increased mucus.
- Emphysema – the effect of the inflammation of elements of the cigarette smoke that scar and distort the air sacs that make up your lungs separate from the bronchial tubes.
Symptoms of COPD include:
- Occasional shortness of breath, especially after exercise
- Mild, but recurrent, cough with and without sputum
- Chest tightness
- Frequent respiratory infections
- Loss of appetite and Weight
- Lack of energy
How is COPD diagnosed?
The diagnosis of COPD is established by a comprehensive history (including tobacco exposure), physical examination, pulmonary function tests, a chest X-ray, and blood work.
How is COPD treated?
The treatment of COPD is determined by which of the common symptoms of COPD a patient most commonly experiences. Some patients have predominance of asthma-like symptoms or recurrent infections. Others may present predominantly with shortness of breath and low oxygen. COPD patients may require antibiotics, inhaled bronchodilators, corticosteroids and oxygen therapy.
Many people may also benefit from healthy lifestyle changes like quitting smoking; eating a healthy, balanced diet; and avoiding activities or substances that trigger your symptoms.
If your symptoms are consistent with COPD, discuss it with you physician and make an appointment at The Sleep Lab by calling the office or clicking the online booking feature today.