Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is progressive condition that significantly impacts your life. Our goal is to help you live well with COPD. The specially trained respiratory therapists at Doctors Hospital take the time to work with you on an individualized treatment and lifestyle plan to help you get back to the life you love.
What is COPD?
COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This means the airways in your lungs become blocked (obstructed) making it difficult to breathe out. COPD can lead to serious complications such as pneumonia, heart failure, and sudden worsening of symptoms. Early diagnosis and treatment may prevent COPD from progressing.
- Chronic means it won’t go away.
- Obstructive means partly blocked.
- Pulmonary means in the lungs.
- Disease means sickness.
- Difficulty breathing may lead to shortness of breath with mild activities such as walking or getting dressed
- chronic cough,
- feet and ankle swelling,
- leaning forward to breathe
- bluish color to lips, skin, or fingernails.
Diagnosing COPD includes a medical exam and testing. A breathing test can determine the extent to the problem. Your evaluation may include:
- Health History is taken by your doctor to assess your lifestyle and smoking habits, your personal medical history, and family medical history, especially for histories of lung problems.
- An exam involves a complete physical. The doctor listens to your heart and lungs sounds. Your throat and nose will be evaluated. You may have the size of your chest examined as a possible sign that your lungs could be enlarged.
Treatments for COPD
Doctors cannot cure COPD, but they can help to improve your symptoms and slow the damage to your lungs.
Diagnosing any breathing problem at an early stage is most important. The treatments and medications can help stop COPD from getting worse, in addition to making your life as comfortable as possible. The earlier this is done, the better your health will be.
- Medications are prescribed to widen the airway (bronchodilators) and to reduce the swelling of the airway (anti-inflammatory drugs, such as steriods). Antibiotics are needed when lung infections are present. Learn the names of your medication, as well as how and when to use them.
- Oxygen may be needed if the oxygen in your blood is too low. This therapy can make you feel better and tolerate activities.