BBC Offers Series on COPD

May 14, 2012

Breathing is probably something most of us take for granted.  But that can suddenly change if you suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). 
COPD is a life-threatening lung disease that makes breathing much more difficult and is a leading cause of death in the United States, according to the American Lung Association (ALA).  But by working with your physician and making some lifestyle changes, you can manage COPD, and symptoms can often be improved. 

To help increase awareness of COPD, Bronson Battle Creek began offering a quarterly series that addresses chronic lung disease and how you can deal with it.  The next session, titled ‘Non-Invasive Ventilation for the Chronic Lung Patient’ is scheduled on Tuesday, June 5, from 2 – 3:30 p.m. in the Outpatient Conference Rooms 1 & 2.  

The program is free to the public, but because seating is limited, reservations are required. To register, call 877-462-2247.  

Dr. Satya Chaparala, a certified pulmonologist will serve as the keynote speaker.  Following the program there will be a short time for general questions and support.  A pulmonary rehabilitation therapist will also be on hand to answer questions and give a short tour of the outpatient pulmonary rehab center. 

The third meeting on September 4 is ‘You have COPD—Managing Your Disease,’ and the final program is scheduled for November 6, titled ‘Learning to Cope with a Chronic Lung Disease.’  

Bronson Battle Creek’s pulmonary rehab program is ‘certified’ by the American Association for Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation.

The term COPD is used to describe two related lung disorders--chronic bronchitis and emphysema.  If you have COPD, you have one or both of these conditions.  With bronchitis, the walls of the passages that carry air to your lungs become swollen and scarred.  Emphysema destroys the sacs in the lungs that release air. 

COPD makes it more difficult to breathe because your air passages get smaller and your air sacs cannot empty.  Your airways may also become clogged with mucus, which comes up when you cough. 

Living well with COPD 
Although there is no known cure for COPD, there are several things you can do to manage it and improve your quality of life.  Early detection of the disease is important; it lets you begin to take steps to keep COPD from progressing. 

“No matter how old you are, it's critical that you give up cigarettes,” says Dr. Chaparala. "Even if you are 75 or 80 years old, quitting smoking will help you feel better." 

Follow your physician’s advice about medications. You may be given bronchodilators to help open airways, corticosteroids to reduce inflammation in lungs and airways, or antibiotics to fight bacterial infections that make COPD worse. 

Talk to your doctor about whether using an oxygen tank might help you breathe better. 

Make certain the air in your home is clean and free of smoke and fumes. 

Ask your physician about breathing exercises that can help you when you are having trouble catching your breath. 

Eat healthful foods, maintain a healthful weight, and stay as physically active as you can.

Breathing comes natural, but when it is interrupted by disease, the outcomes can be deadly.  Learn what you can do breathe easier through the BBC COPD series.

For more information, call Deborah Pierce, RRT, pulmonary rehabilitation (269) 245-8438.  

Battle Creek Health System, now proudly serving southwest Michigan as Bronson Battle Creek, is a 218-bed hospital that provides full outpatient and inpatient acute care including robotic surgery, diagnostics, and rehabilitation services; 100% all private rooms.  It also offers world-class diagnostic capabilities including PET/CT imaging, freestanding ‘open’ and traditional MRI, CT (16- and 64-slice).  Bronson Battle Creek has been recognized nationally as one of the safest hospitals, and has been a leader in the development of electronic health records as evidenced by multiple honors as one of America’s ‘most wired’ and ‘most wireless’ hospitals. The Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons recognizes the Bronson Battle Creek Cancer Care Center as a Community Hospital Comprehensive Cancer program, the only hospital in Michigan to receive that honor twice. Specialty services include the county’s largest accredited sleep center and a wound-healing center with hyperbaric oxygen therapy.