What is COPD
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) encompasses a range of progressive respirator conditions such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis, refractory asthma, and some forms of bronchiectasis. COPD affects approximately 24 million Americans. These diseases are characterized by increasing breathlessness and other respiratory issues. COPD Symptoms may be undetectable during early stages and a spirometry test may be required in order to detect any underlying issues before these diseases progress further. Proper care and a healthier lifestyle can slow the progression of COPD and minimize the potential impact that this condition may have on everyday activities and long-term health.
What Causes COPD?
The majority of COPD cases are caused by inhaling pollutants. These pollutants may include cigarette smoke, fumes, exhausts and airborne particulate and contaminants. Genetic factors can also play a major role in the development of COPD. Having a family history of respiratory illnesses may mean that patients are predisposed to develop COPD. Even those that work hard to stay healthy and active suffer from COPD. Tobacco products and even second-hand smoke can all be major risk factors for the development of COPD.
How do Doctors Test for COPD?
Spirometry testing is by far the most common way to test for COPD but other tests and procedures designed to measure lung capacity may also be used. Imaging services such as chest X-rays and
CT scans can also be used to test for emphysema, chronic bronchitis and the other diseases that fall under the COPD category. Those who find themselves chronically short of breath or that may be suffering increased discomfort or physical limitations due to a respiratory ailment would do well to speak with a doctor.
Dealing With COPD Diagnoses
Newly diagnosed patients may experience or be required to make changes to their everyday life and routine. Oxygen therapy and medications that are designed to reduce the severity of COPD symptoms can make quite a difference. Staying fit and active and taking the other steps needed to create and maintain a healthy lifestyle is an important undertaking. For those who fail to properly manage COPD life expectancy may be reduced. With proper care and treatment, it may be possible for those who suffer from this condition to reduce the severity of COPD symptoms and improve their overall quality of life. Smoking cessation, pulmonary rehabilitation and exercises designed to improve respiratory capacity and function can all be essential resources for those who suffer from COPD.