“What are the symptoms, risk factors, and treatment options, for individuals with COPD?” – All Hands Home Care

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) – “an umbrella term used to describe progressive lung diseases”

Examples of progressive lung diseases:

  • Emphysema
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Refractory (non-reversible) asthma

copd

Signs & Symptoms

  • Increased shortness of breath when completing daily activities
  • Chronic coughing
  • Blueness of the lips or fingernail beds
  • Producing a lot of mucus
  • Fatigue
  • Wheezing
  • Tightness in chest
  • Frequent respiratory infections

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Risk Factors/Causes

  • Most cases are caused by inhaling pollutants (smoking and inhaling second-hand smoke)
  • Fumes, dust, and chemicals in work environments can be contributing factors
  • Genetics can be a factor, even if the individuals has never smoked or been exposed to lung irritants

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Diagnosis – A breathing test called Spinometry can diagnose an individual with COPD.

A Spinometry measures how well the lungs are working and how severe the individual’s COPD is.

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Who should get tested?

Anyone who is showing signs of any of theses symptoms are at risk for developing COPD and should get tested:

  • A history of smoking
  • Has had a long-term exposure to air pollutants
  • Chronic cough with/without sputum
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath that is getting worse over time

Leaving symptoms un-managed can lead them to worsen faster than with appropriate medicine and therapy. Many adults are misdiagnosed with asthma, so an  accurate diagnosis is imperative for treatment and monitoring.

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Treatment

  • Medication
  • Pulmonary Rehabilitation
    • This type of therapy combines education, exercise, nutrition, and counseling.
  • Supplemental Oxygen (Oxygn Therapy)
    • This therapy is used if breathing becomes so restricted that the body needs more oxygen.
  • Surgery
    • Some individuals have COPD so severe that breathing is difficult all of the time. In this case, doctors might suggest surgery to improve breathing.
  • Palliative Care
    • This will help in improving quality of life.

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Managing COPD

COPD can be managed by protecting the lungs, incorporating the right type of exercises to stay physically active, and changing nutrition which can improve breathing.

Click HERE to learn more about COPD

 

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