COPD is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs. Symptoms include breathing difficulty, cough, mucus (sputum) production and wheezing. It's typically caused by long-term exposure to irritating gases or particulate matter, most often from cigarette smoke. People with COPD are at increased risk of developing heart disease, lung cancer and a variety of other conditions.
Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the two most common conditions that contribute to COPD. These two conditions usually occur together and can vary in severity among individuals with COPD.
Although COPD is a progressive disease that gets worse over time, COPD is treatable. With proper management, most people with COPD can achieve good symptom control and quality of life, as well as reduced risk of other associated conditions.
Symptoms of COPD include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
- Frequent respiratory infections
- Unexplained weight loss
- Swelling in your legs and feet
If you have COPD, you’re also likely to experience what’s known as an exacerbation. Exacerbations are episodes where your symptoms become worse for a period of days or weeks, interfering with your ability to perform routine tasks.
Symptoms of COPD include:
To diagnose COPD, we conduct a physical exam, review your medical history, and ask you questions about your symptoms and family health history. We may order a series of pulmonary function tests or chest X-rays to determine if you have emphysema.
How is COPD treated?
Treatment for COPD depends on the severity of your symptoms. However, our approach is offering comprehensive COPD care. This means doing everything possible to improve your breathing and your overall health. The right inhalers are important but so are lots of other things, such as smoking cessation, immunizations, oxygen and exercise. We work with you to make sure your breathing is the best it can be.
COPD plan checklist
- Medications: Which medications are right for you?
- Exacerbation prevention: What can we do to prevent a flare up?
- Sick plan: What is your “Action Plan” if you get sick?
- Sleep evaluation: Do you need a sleep study?
- Advanced directives: Have you completed advanced directives?
- Smoking cessation: Have you stopped smoking? If not, how can we help?
- Pulmonary rehabilitation: Would you benefit from pulmonary rehabilitation?
- Oxygen: Do you need oxygen?
- Immunizations: Are you up to date with your immunizations?
- Lung cancer screening: Would lung cancer screening be right for you?
- Lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS) / transplant: Would lung surgery or transplant be helpful?
- Palliative care: Could palliative care be helpful?
- A1AT testing: Have you been tested for alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency?
- Other: Is there anything else we should be doing?
IN OUR CLINIC
With every clinic appointment, our primary goal is to prevent your COPD from advancing. Each visit includes a look at your personalized treatment plan, which we adjust as needed based on your test results and other assessments. We want every appointment to help you live a healthier life with COPD. To make an appointment with Dr. Luis Chug, call the office today.