What You Should Know about COPD

Someone suffering with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), one of the most common lung diseases, will have difficulty breathing. The two types of COPD are chronic bronchitis and emphysema, and the majority of people with COPD have both conditions. This condition can be very serious, but there are steps you can take to improve your health, and there is help for COPD.@Glowimages 175578.

Symptoms of COPD can include a nagging cough, shortness of breath, wheezing and tightness of the chest. The signs can surface years before the airflow into and out of the lungs has been compromised.

• Chronic bronchitis involves a buildup of mucus in the airways, making it difficult to breath. Emphysema damages the shape and elasticity of the air sacs in the lungs, resulting in fewer air sacs and a reduction in the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide exchanged in the lungs.

• In addition to being a major cause of disability, COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States.

• COPD is a progressive disease, therefore an early diagnosis and prompt treatment are important. There is no cure for COPD.

• Cigarette smoking is the number one cause of COPD. It’s critical that someone with COPD quit smoking.

• In addition to lifestyle changes, treatment for COPD may include medications to relax the muscles surrounding the airways or reduce airway inflammation; vaccines to help prevent flu and pneumococcal pneumonia; pulmonary rehabilitation to improve overall health; oxygen therapy to help improve breathing ability; and surgery in severe cases.

Want to learn more about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease? Call 888-741-5122 to register for our free Living with COPD seminar, to be held Tuesday, March 20, from 6 to 7 pm at Magnolia Gardens Assisted Living in Pinellas Park. Doug Collins (right), Respiratory Therapist and Director of Respiratory Therapy at St. Petersburg General Hospital, will discuss the process to assess, plan, implement and evaluate respiratory care to compromised patients.

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