Managing Your COPD
What is COPD?
COPD, or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, is a lung disease that makes it difficult to breathe and worsens over time.
What are the symptoms of COPD?
- Shortness of breath / feeling like you can’t breathe
- Frequent coughing (smoker’s cough)
- Excessive phlegm
- Tightness in chest
- Frequent respiratory infections
What might cause COPD?
Smoking is the most common cause of COPD. Nine out of ten smokers will develop COPD sometime in their lifetime. Secondhand smokers are also at risk, as well as some factory workers who are exposed to smoke and fumes. Additionally, there is a small part of the population that has a deficiency of alpha 1-antitrypsin, a deficiency that leads to blood and lung problems that will, in time, develop into COPD.
If you have COPD, are you at risk for other diseases?
People who have COPD have an increased chance of developing cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, lung and other cancers, lung infections or smoker’s cough, anxiety and depression.
Is the body’s response to COPD the same for everyone?
People can have different responses to COPD. Since it gradually worsens over time, people who have the disease earlier in life may experience more problems. If someone has a heart condition or other underlying problem, it is possible that may make the symptoms worse as well.
What are some tips for decreasing the symptoms of COPD?
- A few tips for managing the symptoms of COPD are:
- See your doctor to figure out the extent of your condition
- If you are a smoker, quit now
- If you are prescribed medicine, take it
- Being aware of environmental factors, such as smoke, dust and fumes, since these can make symptoms worse
Can COPD be cured?
COPD cannot be cured. The symptoms can only be managed and treated. A few treatment options include:
- Bronchodilator, nebulizers and steroids
- Pulmonary rehabilitation
- Lung surgery
- Prevention of respiratory infections with flu and pneumonia vaccinations
Should someone with COPD have something to identify their condition in case of emergency?
It is best to have a medical card or other personal item that identifies their condition in case of an emergency.
Does COPD affect a certain group of people more than others?
People who smoke, people with the alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency and women are all more at risk for developing COPD.
Who should I contact if I think I have COPD?
If you think you have COPD or any other issue that is causing ongoing breathing issues, call Bronson Critical Care and Pulmonary Medicine Specialists – Battle Creek at (269) 969-6100. They are accepting new patients as well as walk-ins. Services include pulmonary medicine and internal medicine.
Bronson Critical Care and Pulmonary Medicine Specialists is accepting new patients at 363 Fremont St., Ste. 100 in Battle Creek. Call (269) 969-6100 to schedule an appointment.