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What is COPD?

Your Best Treatment Options

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD, refers to a group of diseases that causes airflow blockage and breathing-related problems. It includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and, in some cases, asthma. At Bay Clinic, our primary focus is to find the best treatment option for your unique condition.

What Causes COPD?

In the U.S., tobacco smoke is a key factor in the development and progression of COPD. Exposure to air pollutants, genetic factors, and respiratory infections also plays a role. Indoor air quality is thought to play a larger role in the development and progression of COPD in the developing world than in the U.S.

Who Has COPD?

Chronic lower respiratory disease, primarily COPD, was the third leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2014. Almost 15.7 million Americans, or 6.4%, reported that they have been diagnosed with COPD. More than 50% of adults with low pulmonary function were not aware that they had COPD, so the actual number may be higher.

The following groups were more likely to report COPD in 2013:
  • People aged 65–74 years and ≥ 75 years
  • American Indian/Alaska Natives and multiracial non-Hispanics
  • Women
  • Individuals who were unemployed, retired, or unable to work
  • Individuals with less than a high school education
  • Individuals who were divorced, widowed, or separated
  • Current or former smokers
  • People with a history of asthma

What Are The Complications Or Effects Of COPD?

Compared to adults without COPD, adults with COPD are more likely to
  • Have activity limitations such as difficulty walking or climbing stairs
  • Be unable to work
  • Need special equipment such as portable oxygen tanks
  • Not engage in social activities such as going to restaurants, places of worship, group events, or events with friends or neighbors
  • Have increased confusion or memory loss
  • Have more emergency room visits or overnight hospital stays 
  • Have other chronic diseases such as arthritis, congestive heart failure, diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, or asthma
  • Have depression or other mental or emotional conditions 
  • Report a fair or poor health status

How Can COPD Be Prevented?

Avoid inhaling tobacco smoke, home and workplace air pollutants, and respiratory infections to prevent developing COPD. Early detection of COPD might change its course and progress. A simple test called spirometry can be used to measure pulmonary, or lung, function and detect COPD in anyone with breathing problems. 

How Is COPD Treated?

Treatment of COPD requires a careful and thorough evaluation by a physician. COPD treatment can alleviate symptoms, decrease the frequency and severity of exacerbation, and increase exercise tolerance. For those who smoke, the most important aspect of treatment is smoking cessation.

Avoiding tobacco smoke and removing other air pollutants from the patient’s home or workplace are also important. Symptoms such as coughing or wheezing can be treated with medication. Pulmonary rehabilitation is an individualized treatment program that teaches COPD management strategies to increase your quality of life.

Plans may include breathing strategies, energy-conserving techniques, exercise training, and nutritional counseling. The flu can cause serious problems in people with COPD. Vaccination during flu season is recommended, and respiratory infections should be treated with antibiotics if appropriate.

Patients who have low blood oxygen levels are often given supplemental oxygen.
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621 Martin Luther King Blvd.
Panama City, FL 32401
Professional Affiliations:
American Medical Association
Florida Medical Association
Sleep Foundation
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