COPD Symptoms & Treatments
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a group of lung diseases that inhibit airflow to the lungs and make breathing difficult. The three most common conditions of COPD are emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and asthma, and people with COPD can have all conditions at the same time. Bronchitis and Emphysema cause irreversible damage to the lungs, but getting the best COPD treatment early on can control symptoms and prevent further damage from occurring. Learn more about COPD symptoms, it’s most unexpected effects, and scientific breakthrough treatments that can help prevent COPD from slowing people down:
In chronic bronchitis, the linings of the bronchial tubes become inflamed. Emphysema happens when the alveoli in the small air passages in the lungs are destroyed. Many people who have COPD don’t find out until symptoms become more severe in later stages, because they don’t know the warning signs and early symptoms to look for. Starting early COPD treatment is the best way to limit the progression of this chronic disease, so if you or someone you love experiences any of the early signs or symptoms of COPD, talk to a doctor right away. Since symptoms don’t appear until lung damage has already occurred, treatment should begin immediately upon diagnosis of COPD.
The primary symptom of COPD is a chronic cough, defined as a cough that occurs for at least three months per year for two consecutive years. There are other symptoms that may indicate COPD as well such as wheezing, tightness in the chest, shortness of breath (especially during physical activity), excess mucus in the lungs (especially in the morning), a blue tint to fingernail beds or lips, lack of energy, unexplained weight loss and frequent respiratory infections. If you are diagnosed with COPD, your doctor will want to discuss the COPD treatment options that can best help manage your symptoms.
Although there is no cure for COPD, numerous treatment options are available to help patients live longer, more comfortable lives. When COPD is detected during the earlier stages of the disease, COPD medications and healthy lifestyle changes can often prevent the significant loss of lung function for several years. That said, of the 24 million Americans believed to have COPD, only half have discussed their symptoms with a doctor. The remaining people are putting themselves at greater risk by not receiving immediate treatment. Early COPD treatment is usually simple and highly effective, consisting of bronchodilators and other medications prescribed by your doctor.
The most important step of COPD treatment is to quit smoking. People who smoke cigarettes are more at risk of COPD than any other demographic, especially after smoking heavily for a number of years. Quitting smoking can reduce your risk of developing the disease while also protecting you from life-threatening episodes of COPD exacerbation. Unfortunately, the addictive qualities of cigarettes make this a very hard habit to break. Talk to your doctor if you need assistance with quitting smoking for good.
One breakthrough treatment that scientists have come up with that could help you breathe easier is the Lung Flute. The Lung Flute can help open up your airways and can become instrumental in your COPD treatment plan. With COPD mucus tends to build up in the airways, which triggers coughing, wheezing and trouble breathing. If it becomes to thick it can become difficult to clear your lungs which can lead to infections like pneumonia. With the Lung Flute it helps thin mucus so people can get ride of it much more easier.
One of the best things you can do when dealing with COPD is educate yourself about your condition, so you clearly understand what COPD is, how it might affect you, and what your COPD treatment options are. Following your prescribed treatment plan carefully is also necessary in successfully treating your symptoms and preventing further lung damage. Oftentimes, this means asking questions, when necessary, to make sure you fully understand your treatment plan. Think of your physician as a teammate in battling the symptoms of COPD, and keep the lines of communication with your doctor open.
Remember, the better you take care of yourself, the easier treating COPD symptoms will be. If you’re a smoker, quit smoking now. Begin an exercise regimen recommended by your doctor to help improve lung function, if possible, and make sure to eat a healthy diet and cut down on alcohol. You should also limit your exposure to airway irritants, such as second-hand smoke, air pollution and exposure to harsh chemicals or dust, as these can exacerbate COPD symptoms.
As always, if your symptoms get worse or change, contact your doctor right away. Learning to recognize the signs of COPD exacerbation and other complications are crucial to successful treatment.
There are several websites and other resources available to those who have COPD or have a loved one with the condition. COPDFoundation.org is an excellent resource for anyone seeking information about symptoms and treatment of COPD, as well as current research and new COPD treatments that may soon be available. There, you will also find a complete list of additional resources, including support groups and educational tools.
Lung.org, an American Lung Association website, is another excellent resource for learning about COPD, including information geared toward patients and caregivers, as well as physicians and nurses. Lung.org also has resources that can show you where you might get help paying for your COPD treatment and care. Keep in mind that, while the Web has a multitude of resources available, your best resource will always be your physician. If you have questions or concerns related to your particular symptoms, make sure to discuss them with your doctor right away.