COPD Can Take Your Breath Away

February 18, 2013

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, sometimes referred to as COPD, is a serious lung condition that, over time, makes it difficult for people with it to breathe.

To help increase awareness of COPD, Bronson Battle Creek is again offering a chronic lung disease series, scheduled quarterly on Tuesday afternoons from 2-3:30.  The first meeting on March 12 is an ‘Introduction to Wellness’ where participants can interact with healthcare specialists and collect information about their conditions. It is a chance for those attending to establish some wellness goals and how to achieve them.  Discussions will be centered on wellness, not the disease in this opening program.  The COPD sessions will be held in the hospital’s Outpatient Conference Rooms 1 & 2.  

To register for this program, call 877-462-2247.  For more information, call Deborah Pierce, RRT, pulmonary rehabilitation (269) 245-8438.  

“COPD is a very serious lung condition that makes breathing much more difficult, and one of the leading causes of death in the United States,” says Pierce, a pulmonary rehabilitation specialist at BBC.  “But if you work with your physician and respiratory therapists to make some lifestyle changes, you can manage COPD, and your symptoms can often be improved.”

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. 

To help manage the disease: 
Stop smoking. No matter how old you are, it is crucial that you give up cigarettes.  Even if you are 75, stopping smoking will help you feel better.

Follow your doctor'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 physician 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 doctor 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.

The second program in this series, to be held on June 11, is titled ‘Exercise—Let’s Get Moving.’  The third meeting on September 10, is ‘Nutrition for Good Health,’ and the final program is scheduled for November 12, titled ‘Sleep & Oxygen—Connection to Wellness.’  All of the programs are free to the public, but reservations are required because seating is limited.

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), and 3.0 Tesla MRI.  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 Comprehensive Community Cancer Program, and the only hospital in Michigan to receive the CoC’s Outstanding Achievement Award three times in a row. Specialty services include inpatient behavioral health, the county’s largest accredited sleep center, and a wound-healing center with hyperbaric oxygen therapy.  For nine years, Bronson Healthcare has been included on Working Mother magazine’s 100 Best Companies list as a leading family friendly employer.