lung exam bronchitis PAR RichmondThe tissues in your body depend on receiving adequate oxygen. It is also critical that your body eliminates the waste produced in the form of carbon dioxide. Healthy lungs are critical to this process. COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is a chronic disease that affects the lungs and their ability to deliver oxygen and eliminate carbon dioxide. Pulmonary Associates of Richmond shares some information about living with COPD and what you can do to stay healthy. 

What is COPD?

COPD is a lung disease that blocks the life-sustaining flow of oxygen. People with COPD can experience breathing in and breathing out. Tobacco smoke is the most common cause, but there are other factors such as genetics and long-term exposure to certain irritants such as chemicals, vapors, dust, and burning fuel. Some diseases such as asthma and chronic bronchitis may also play a role in COPD.

There are many symptoms associated with COPD. These include:

  • Unexplained shortness of breath while resting
  • Exaggerated difficulty breathing during physical activity
  • Wheezing
  • Tiredness
  • Persistent mucous production
  • Long-standing cough
  • Tightness in chest
  • Swollen legs, feet, or ankles

How can I live with COPD?

An often-overlooked element of living with COPD is a positive mental attitude. This, along with a willingness to follow a pulmonologist’s instructions, can have a significant impact on the quality of your life. COPD is a chronic disease and not curable, but it is treatable. Available treatments include medications such as steroids and antibiotics. Supplemental oxygen may also be prescribed to help increase the oxygen levels in your blood. You should take a team approach to life with COPD. Your team will include family, friends, nurses, pulmonologists, and other health care providers.

What are the healthiest ways to live with COPD?

In addition to prescribing specific medical measures to improve your life, your pulmonologist may recommend one or more steps for you to take to improve and extend your life:

  • Stop smoking
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Begin a pulmonary rehabilitation program
  • Join a community support group

How can a pulmonologist help?

It is important to know that pulmonologists are the medical specialists most capable of improving your life with COPD. Your pulmonologist will assess your illness’s severity and make the necessary recommendations to alleviate your symptoms as much as possible. At Pulmonary Associates of Richmond, you will find a well-trained and sympathetic staff that is accustomed to treating patients with COPD. Schedule an appointment with us by calling (804) 320-4243 or use our convenient online appointment request form. We are here to help you live better and breathe better!