If you’re a smoker or a former smoker and have a persistent cough, it’s time to get it checked out by a physician. You could have a condition called COPD, which is a type of chronic lung disease. The caring, knowledgeable physicians at Golden Corner Family Practice in West Union, South Carolina, treat many cases of COPD, helping to alleviate painful symptoms and provide a better quality of life. Call or book an appointment online today with one of Golden Corner Family Practice’s expert physicians.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema, is a lung disease that makes breathing difficult. It damages the passages to your lungs. COPD is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. However, it can be treated—and prevented.
Cigarette smoking causes most cases of COPD. Cigarettes contain more than 7,000 chemicals, many of them toxic. They narrow your air passages, damaging your lungs so that you can’t ward off infection easily.
The air you breathe can contribute to COPD. If you work long-term in an environment with air pollution, such as secondhand smoke or dust from chemicals or fumes, you could get COPD. A small percentage of COPD cases are genetic; the body doesn’t produce enough of a protective protein.
If you have COPD, you likely have both chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Your doctor reviews your complete medical history, including whether you smoke and whether you’ve been exposed to air pollution.
Your doctor then conducts a pulmonary (lung) test. During a spirometry test, a machine measures how much air you blow out of a device and how fast you do it. Your doctor orders a chest X-ray and may order an arterial blood gas test that determines the level of oxygen in your blood.
Your doctor works with you to determine the best treatment options. They range from medications to rehabilitation or surgery.
There are a number of medications used for COPD treatment. They help you breathe more normally and have fewer COPD attacks.
Pulmonary rehabilitation includes nutrition counseling, an exercise program, and education about the disease.
COPD reduces your oxygen levels so you may need extra oxygen. Your doctor can advise you on options. A new option is an oxygen concentrator, which is a smaller, more portable device that separates oxygen from the air around you and stores it.
If COPD is severe, you may be a candidate for surgery. Not everyone is a candidate; you can’t smoke, and you must be in a rehabilitation program. In a bullectomy, doctors remove one or more large air sacs preventing you from getting air. Lung volume reduction surgery cuts the most diseased parts of your lungs away so what remains can perform better.
If you think you or a loved one have COPD, don’t delay; call or book an appointment online with one of our physicians for expert diagnosis and treatment.