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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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