COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) is a progressive lung disease that is a combination of two conditions:
- Chronic Bronchitis, which is an inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes that carry air to and from your lungs, and
- Emphysema, which gradually damages and destroys the alveoli, or air sacs in the lungs.
While COPD is a serious condition, it’s important to remember that in some cases it can be prevented and treated.
COPD Risk Factors
Talk to us if you have any of these risk factors so we can work with you to manage your risk for COPD:
- Smoking – 85 – 90% of COPD cases are caused by smoking
- Secondhand Smoke
- Exposure to air pollution
- Working with chemicals, dust, and fumes
- A genetic condition called Alpha-1 Deficiency
- A history of childhood respiratory infection
Call us if you experience any of the following symptoms of COPD:
- Cough that won’t go away
- Shortness of breath while doing everyday activities
- Blueness of the lips or fingernail beds
- Mucus or phlegm in the throat
Because these symptoms generally appear at later stages of the disease, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible after you notice them.
There are a number of different ways to manage and lessen the effects of COPD, including:
The effects of COPD can be lessened and sometimes almost eliminated by:
- Stopping smoking (or never starting) – smoking is a major cause of COPD, not to mention lung cancer, heart disease, and other cancers
- Avoiding/eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke
- Protecting yourself from certain chemicals, dust and fumes in your home and at work.
The right medicines can help you breath better, do more of the things you enjoy, and have fewer flare-ups of serious symptoms. Medications for COPD include:
- Inhaled Bronchodilators – there are two types of bronchodilators; one eases breathing by relaxing tightened muscles around your airways, while the other clears mucus from your lungs and also prevents muscles around your airways from tightening. Bronchodilators are delivered directly into the lungs using an inhaler or nebulizer
- Anti-Inflammatory Corticosteroids – these medications can be taken as a pill or inhaled using an inhaler or nebulizer. Corticosteroids have serious side effects and are usually only used to help calm severe symptoms. Your PAR doctor or clinician will tell you more.
- Combination Medicines – depending on your symptoms, bronchodilators and corticosteroids can be combined into a single inhaler or nebulizer solution to make your treatment easier.
Supplemental Oxygen (Oxygen Therapy)
Temporary or long-term oxygen therapy helps some people with COPD feel better and stay active. If it turns out to be right for you, your PAR clinician will explain and help you choose the right equipment.
Pulmonary Rehab programs combine education, exercise, nutritional advice, and counseling to rebuild your lung strength and help you enjoy a more active life.
Asthma puts you at greater risk for serious complications from flu and pneumonia, so you should be immunized each year. The pneumonia vaccine is important to get at least once, and your doctor may recommend a booster shot.
The doctors at PAR are lung specialists and are uniquely qualified to diagnose and help you find the best way to manage COPD and improve your quality of life.