Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic inflammatory lung disease and is a leading cause of disability in the US. There are more than 15 million adults in the country living with the disease.
COPD causes an obstruction of airflow from the lungs, which can make breathing normally a struggle. However, the symptoms can be managed, and you can improve your ability to breathe. With the right medical treatment and support, you can live a normal, fulfilling life with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Continue reading to find out more about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, its causes, and how it is managed and treated.
What is COPD? What Causes It?
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease causes the airways to be narrowed as a result of inflammation, making it difficult to breathe. The most common cause of COPD is smoking, but it can also be caused by environmental irritants such as secondhand smoke, air pollution, smoke and fumes.
Genetics, frequent lung infections, and a history of asthma can also lead to the development of COPD. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are two respiratory conditions that are associated with the development of COPD. It is a disease that generally worsens over time.
Symptoms of COPD
COPD symptoms can vary from person to person. Here are the most common symptoms associated with the disease:
- Shortness of breath
- Sputum production
- Chest tightness
- Frequent respiratory infections
- Consistent lack of energy
- Unintended weight loss
- Swelling in the ankles and feet
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, make an appointment with a healthcare provider. COPD is commonly misdiagnosed, especially in the early stages. Find out what is causing your symptoms by getting a definitive diagnosis through a series of tests.
How is COPD Managed and Treated?
COPD is highly treatable, so the patient can experience fewer symptoms and return to a normal life. Your doctor will develop a treatment plan, which may include a combination of the following:
- Quitting smoking
- Avoiding exposure to environmental pollutants and chemicals
- Taking all prescribed COPD medications
- Doing pulmonary rehabilitation – a comprehensive program that incorporates exercise training, disease management education, social support, nutrition education, and counseling
- Taking supplemental oxygen or oxygen therapy
- Using non-invasive positive pressure ventilation (NPPV)
The goals of COPD treatment include the following:
● Control Symptoms
To allow COPD patients to have better control over their symptoms and improve their quality of life.
● Slow Disease Progression
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease tends to worsen, and interventions can help slow the progression of COPD and reduce the impact of the disease on lung function.
● Reducing Exacerbations
COPD flare-ups, termed exacerbations, can be severe and last for days and lead to hospitalizations. Proper treatment can reduce the frequency of exacerbations and hospitalizations.
● Improving Activity Levels
Through tailored treatments, individuals with COPD can improve their ability to stay active and engage in regular physical activities, which positively impacts overall health.
COPD is best managed under the guidance of a primary care provider, specifically an internal medicine specialist who is highly trained and experienced in the management of adult-specific diseases.
COPD Treatment in Dallas, TX
Don’t feel alone with COPD. We have a caring and supportive team of medical professionals at Prime Internal Medicine Associates, led by board-certified internal medicine doctors, Dr. Shalini Katikaneni and Dr. Della Mathew, and PA Tam Kang.
Our internal medicine specialists create individualized treatment plans for each patient, which includes a combination of the latest treatments for managing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
For over 15 years, we have served patients with COPD living in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex area. To schedule an appointment, call us today at (972) 239-5445 or use our convenient online form to schedule your visit.