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COPD

What Is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive lung condition — ranging from mild to severe — that is characterized by difficulty breathing and restricted airflow into and out of the lungs. COPD is an umbrella term encompassing chronic bronchitis and/or emphysema.

Overview: What is COPD?

Without the proper intake of oxygen, the rest of your body suffers. It becomes difficult to physically exert yourself and, eventually, to perform simple tasks like walking. Additionally, COPD causes high blood pressure and leads to heart disease. Because COPD is a progressive disease, these problems grow worse over time.

COPD has no cure, but medical treatment may help slow its progression and assist with the ability to breathe. It’s important to know the symptoms of COPD, especially if you’re a smoker since treatment it in its early stages is more manageable.

What are the symptoms of COPD?

Since COPD is a progressive disease, the symptoms may take a while to develop. In its earliest stages, patients may notice frequent coughing with mucus for months or years.

COPD Air Sacs

Please, seek medical assistance for COPD if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • Daily coughing
  • Frequently coughing up mucus
  • Loss of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Fatigue
  • Tightness of the chest
  • Swollen feet, ankles and legs
  • A noticeable increase in respiratory infections
  • A bluish hue of the lips or fingernail beds
  • Uncontrollable weight loss

Some of these symptoms, such as the uncontrollable weight loss or the bluish hue of the lips, do not develop until the disease is in its later stages of progression. If you haven’t already seen a medical professional about your symptoms up to this point, please get assistance immediately.

What are the causes of COPD?

The primary cause of COPD is cigarette smoke.

If you are a smoker, if you have ever smoked or if you have been exposed to second-hand smoke, you have an increased risk of developing COPD. However, some smokers never display symptoms of COPD. Additional elements, such as genetics, diet or lifestyle habits, may factor in more toward the development of COPD alongside smoking. It is possible, though rare, for COPD to develop in patients due to a genetic deficiency of a protein called alpha-1-antitrypsin.

Furthermore, prolonged exposure to breathing dust, chemicals, smoke and asbestos is linked to the development of COPD. If you work in environments such as these or if you are a smoker, and you’re displaying symptoms of COPD, you should seek immediate medical assistance.

How is COPD diagnosed?

Some of the symptoms of COPD overlap with symptoms of other diseases. Your physician will perform some tests, examine your symptoms, review your personal and family medical history and ask questions about your lifestyle and smoking habits.

Some of the tests your physician may order include:

  • Chest x-ray
  • CT scan
  • Pulmonary function test
  • Blood-gas analysis

If it’s apparent that your symptoms may be the result of another condition, your physician may order more tests for an accurate diagnosis. Diagnosing and treating COPD in its earlier stages may allow for a wider range of treatment options, so it’s important for your physician to perform these tests and not misdiagnose you COPD as something else.

How is COPD treated?

As mentioned before, COPD is not curable. The objective of treatment is to slow the progression of the disease and assist with managing its symptoms.

The first and most important component of COPD treatment is to quit smoking. If you are still smoking when your COPD is diagnosed, then quitting alone may hinder the disease’s progression, especially if the disease is diagnosed in its early stages.

Depending on the severity of your COPD, your overall health and other factors, your COPD treatment may include some of the following:

  • Bronchodilators – these are medications that can help relax airways and improve your ability to breathe
  • Steroids – these may reduce inflammation development in the airways
  • Antibiotics– these help treat lung infections that may aggravate your COPD
  • Oxygen therapy – this is supplemental oxygen, which may be prescribed for certain times of the day or throughout the entire day depending on the lack of oxygen your COPD is causing
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation – this includes exercising, counseling and nutritional guidance to help improve your lifestyle and reduce the amount of time you spend in a hospital with COPD symptoms

In extreme cases, surgery may be required to remove damaged tissue. Lung transplants may also be an option for those who qualify. For questions about who qualifies for a lung transplant, you should speak with your primary care provider.

Is COPD preventable?

Smoking cigarettes is the number one cause of COPD, so if you never smoke or if you quit smoking, your chances of developing COPD are reduced.

Furthermore, if you work in dusty or fumy environments, you need to wear proper safety equipment and follow safety instructions.

In cases of protein deficiency, there is not much you can do to prevent COPD. However, these cases are much rarer than COPD caused by smoking or lung irritants.

Are you experiencing symptoms of COPD or would you like to speak with a medical professional about your risk of developing COPD? Contact us at the Lung Health Institute today to schedule your free consultation and discover our treatment options.

Who’s affected?

Men and women
Although men previously developed COPD at a higher rate than women, both groups are now almost equally affected by the condition. This is in large part due to females’ increasing use of tobacco, particularly in high-income countries. In 2007, approximately 60,000 men died of COPD in America, as compared to 64,000 women.

People aged 40 and over
Current and former smokers aged 40 and over are the group most commonly affected by COPD. This is because COPD is a progressive condition, and thus tends to have a greater effect on people later in their lives. It should be noted, however, that people who sustained lung damage at an early age — such as those who lived in heavily polluted areas as children — may develop COPD at a much earlier stage of life.

Cigarette smokers
Smoking cigarettes is the leading cause of COPD, as the toxins contained in cigarette smoke can absorb into the bronchial walls and damage lung tissue. As such, cigarette smokers have the highest risk of developing this condition. Despite this, not all cigarette smokers develop the symptoms of COPD, possibly due to genetic factors, nutritional habits or other external factors. Additional research is needed to determine why only some smokers develop COPD.

People with certain genetic deficiencies
In a small percentage of people, even those who are young and nonsmokers, an alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency can cause COPD. People exposed to dust and chemicals Extended exposure to dust and/or chemicals can lead to COPD-related inflammation within the lungs.

Related Conditions

Healthy lungs are a crucial part of one’s overall health. Certain diseases, including some not treated at the Lung Health Institute, can influence breathing quality. 

  • COPD and acute respiratory distress syndrome
  • COPD and asthma
  • COPD and atelectasis
  • COPD and depression
  • COPD and diabetes
  • COPD and GERD
  • COPD and hypertension
  • COPD and mesothelioma
  • COPD and pneumonia
  • COPD and seasonal allergies
  • COPD and sleep apnea

If you have been diagnosed with COPD or asthma or believe you may be living with one or both of these conditions, make an appointment with your doctor today for a proper diagnosis. There are many treatments options for both of these conditions. If you’d like to learn more about the alternative treatment offered at the Lung Health Institute, contact one of our patient coordinators today at (855) 882-1292.

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Find out if you're a candidate!
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FTqXyOquXODITvEj9SqFwXyKMIGzIYZlYkBue80RXidZi4SDw5ObHNBqmkJSNEaI81TBn9ILns/cBH93pe7sChfyzq2hdR6uE/Y+BNenE98O4XQBjviDirtfFSOFDMEyIDBIfcXlCbJWaKbgHBuXrMO7D/rHZODx/Skli/leZjBJ1t1dJOZLwOp57xCo7u7nNMTEHyfPHOJb/o3iilk0vlrm9iSXpypt6Yzv+51SUPIo/jOOqMp67yerul2lc03An+REU5wNU5ih215QMT9UXv0ozwMrahVYd4v3gVhBMqAMWBx8l7xmRLbY9JsH1hQelBaQsHMqaFa/6XpeCCcQD5udRSxZiZVkASUc75IEbg7qTO57V0RmRFI506yRAxV02R4eA9s3CqGtrJ+/kAq6u2b+IPR98JSotjhouhe6KL41yMZ4fOdS5QlV0EqksvG3pmUxikh+D33x/5GPGjB1yWxz+XFzKQc9mzc83EigMSJhYy64kx+25xgWglpzSLUYU+XhKPEUgqugSbw+ycz3SgzyWvqvcd97O1c2HH/52b0WPKOE2HCvxS19ms2Ewp71OAbhj9BCWj/bLDy/Luo9undxPslJumbMvpt2xbGR5VgXY4CTx7EZKvDyyVpy//nO2W10dWL/ylDyrjn/qKFAvHzjsCtbm8VspwMASiXUmmTNF3HzY1xzjkeCzS5jJQ4sxwrtrvNj61F0Jf8njfaBr47SGXo7NbecEBktMF2jiByNmno65f9p57cP4Kdp8ZaQMU2hKkNCAKI/9Hxw78AqZZnIL/pe5hcf5iAep1R4cSFS+ty9iPgvQSKvMYJ0GZVYgV5U39rKd77pnzJmXuj/El/nqAZn5jC+LFzVzAnB++N1WXo6BhTqKyximjA8ymnU7sY83AbyxVmvEGfCGei49PNLPWgF/kM0H30eHSOrpmny0319oCLO+P3AKYMXf1/k4r/YRaTkArKmPuTc1WVx2YDLCY4JqiWbyBM2pCJXk8W2ApI/n4z8rHPtEsYUoNq1gpn+cbPF9Inhiwt3rTnKM5lPAgp07y6dNEEZngh/ylXwFdIr7WfKd+rQ3zrYYFDGeGgTP0xkg8s1g1KSW4OpDRSe/zNpm01Bk+BwzDL65PKdLY4RgO8VFgV+UjAui8VQ1518DWPiDoiCD9lm7ykpayIP83Xy465fdZ497hL1fpY9GfkZWt/y6N7D61A2s2N5HyFei2Jm6CP+ZF54NhtbJlF89AQrDMV/jg67tRThITkdio/68XK1gHkvX8ETvNjB7WBRbhXMCsWaizzVy0a8Ss4ai5ikVeGObizZHoNQW08XYvTkyPaNlbfC+2skDPjnkvlNZ42vKyEeuFaStXJ1ONj8Hj9qjHpxh5R1DUl3WdF/UdXX17/aF5A8FIHd3VZGXn4LKSlvBcQmu2KVlqH/o+PEP5HKykRwRfgAgbGbjYAFdrGU85pbjTAZLyvcR062ZMtEi+6pUAJjgkGBJ34+olcKIJ0/hd/mgWwPQS9h73PHZEAL+f+3dxWHC4w1oDu2LT+xHxz+t29ksW238THYvohwBr9Px6v5Z+BRohtM+J/jZh0O6MfC8T17yil/AUnRa4aw42mg0plJv67E1YhSJkVLqHF+cYAJCaTihZYUPDUVnN0FHFhUpunY5KRlfFFfBsdFWm9egXwFgds2p6q+7dlTixvxY0CK/G+C3Kj8IX70lYJUXuKaCB1IBaBvus9olg/JS07HGG6gisrVntWHDSeSm3HbvM/SAQhxd4OFCtzVMyWhLwHdfSEYgVwmo4oPQ9FJKqTHgmGAAKbgJqswdWrIhOZMWtceL+G/pLU6hTH7kTZ7R3AXdD0o30HBYd1KJFBOV2enmTB/24ARVXg16Kr/yZaX8Q3fw1HIU1BMTYCgZQOchTgdpEaI5HcsPjXjO6Tj3La2HtrlBQNFEygoONDG2XKKQ0/3tNmazMpWXkzflHqvKRNyDNWOxygyDU9obOpHwq5NUde//hF5nAcNC4tMz06hVCgqvtxSFRfryB5i5MEGjZhvLXhEBlNWwXgl2/WRNtKqS3pQfgULDJUQkJX+RYWD2DM1LRvxPXi4QVsv6yZRzjX7+mjniXDrUyJT8VF0BPlY7FIOnrWV4MqHkikIUlFZ+sjiovEWkf9TcniOtRl5QvDfs6zJsQzlEKRjtQllSnhV7SqaOMiYIRxEwbM7xw/+wNgAiMGceXYfwLJBDvxE6S3NSeWvLiCNWRMYdej4rEiWV0yrUWkMMiZi3p9JHb2QYIziZj6Bp/jN6f/8xEyspJsycgKK2lGN0ugl9C1M1VRwsuGGJSNfXAHW+jpFsgDOdmxlmkB+csrXrGoWMaZEvId5KDgQ5ggHZVYvija7Nhxm6xlGoHG2uXKROvbxqv6cUZ6OjUY7NDCnlZ3IhxA6l5dzjZNYsqlyihU9akP4JYTGrDnYZHSMsyosJhEmpsreA5Scteo7Xu3+C0wTHzBhOO3tbujLnYSu4YCCvtE1V4EDgi1MQCpfvlCnR4ultVzINDb4jYtOeOodFo9P0sFMQyMC5psnUr7cr3aobXjDdAXf4d8DrX9GayfggL9yKq0LFNta4h3we6nEyfO3SwaAptHM2m+2lIusnHY7nvkJGvP6V6fPBWbDYgqQv26gtpolrdd0890I7b4uhX1rmqHDfV7J/x5zXNoP7rIkJuGEQ/eLb3VuDhyHBsUOVlpPIfka3RBrQmzudjsg9uU16vt0kI1bO3MHzkHC6AJhHlJJB9JQlLraRg2A79v1TkDUDOqrfDFkzsNZkknt/zYvQo2/atNxscHHmAkadFP99J6zNHBvuETofbwaAZ/TYH3KwZjYtiCdl093Izjz3Ty5opCazceQilsMX5BeliWkeTUUoNHZOVTTL0h267OEhy6KDIYXGwj+w4/Xvjy3JOrQM2qoQhu4Ze0D6IedH7VBwwwq1LJxdHcB058qYdYJQYeD9DC3jh/NAqxdy4OJ/Ku7sArGIriMt+7aVzMSLD54B0VV53QKJdfzJTVMFPtH+/9mNaVLH9tEKBFyYqQxr/cgsKWLN3mkJAA2BNRxYXMi8K18pR2FOrsqism3y/2bTBfhTziMPZFLbIe1wVNmKOIlMMFIk0MSn93PUYMBx1V1mkIhoJSC+eOhWyx2UaQT/DWUDjqlE9hkAIrF4V14hFCBNC45KC1JrttgSH0laFKBRUmylxo+sU3v6Q==

 

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Every day we are changing people’s lives. Our duty and obligation is to help our patients, and we know we are doing something special for them. We measure our success by our patients’ success and their satisfaction with our services and the care they receive from our dedicated staff.

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