Thursday, December 7, 2017

COPD is treatable with early detection

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is the medical name for the family of diseases that cause breathing difficulties. Often referred to as COPD, the disease inflames your lung tissue. This inflammation causes obstructions in your respiratory pathways. It is most often associated with people who smoke or who have had long-term exposure to harmful fumes.

nurse examining lungs for COPD
COPD has four stages:
  • Stage one: Mild COPD  Shortness of breath with exertion, frequent cough
  • Stage two: Moderate COPD  Sputum (a mixture of saliva and mucus), shortness of breath with—or without—exertion, frequent cough
  • Stage three: Severe COPD  Some fatigue, excess sputum, shortness of breath, chronic cough
  • Stage four: Very severe COPD  Extreme fatigue, excess sputum, shortness of breath, chronic cough

COPD or age?

Your lungs age as you do. Some older patients mistake breathing difficulties and weakened endurance as expected signs of aging and not symptoms of COPD. Getting treatment at the first signs of the disease makes a big difference. Talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing some of these symptoms:
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Consistent cough
  • Excessive mucus, especially in the morning
  • Blue lips
  • Frequent respiratory infections
  • Low energy
Recognizing symptoms of COPD during its early stages is vital. Typically, you will experience signs of the disease before you recognize them as symptoms. Most people are diagnosed with COPD during stage two or later. Though there isn’t a cure for COPD, recognizing the disease during stage one and starting treatment early makes a significant difference in your body’s ability to slow down its progression.

COPD is treatable

There is no cure for COPD, but its symptoms can be controlled and treated. If you are diagnosed early, be proactive. Talk to your doctor. Create a treatment plan and follow it. Usually, treatment plans involve taking medication and using inhalers. If you’re a smoker, you’ll need to give up cigarettes, and you might need to make some adjustments to your diet, too.

When COPD is diagnosed later on, your doctor will come up with a customized plan to push back and control the disease to help you improve your quality of life and reduce your risk of developing emphysema and bronchitis.

If you think that you might be experiencing COPD symptoms, we can help. The team at Logansport Memorial Hospital can help you find a treatment plan. Take the first step and schedule a checkup with your physician.

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