What is COPD?

Have you or a family member recently been diagnosed with COPD and you’d like to learn more about it?

COPD is a disease of the lungs that has currently been diagnosed in over 200 million people worldwide and causes an average of 3 million deaths each year. It is becoming increasingly common in the developed world. COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and refers to a group of lung diseases that block or obstruct the flow of air as you exhale and make it increasingly difficult to breathe with ease.

Types of COPD
The primary two conditions that make up COPD are emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Emphysema involves long-term, irreversible damage to the lungs over time. Chronic bronchitis involves a long-term, recurring cough that produces mucus. In all cases of COPD, damage to the lungs eventually becomes so extreme that it interferes with the respiratory process, or exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the lungs.

Symptoms of COPD
Symptoms for COPD can be mild at the onset, and many people with the condition may not initially realize they are sick. The primary symptoms (which generally worsen over time) include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Wheezing
  • Frequent coughing (both dry and productive)
  • Susceptibility to respiratory infections

Treatments for COPD
There is currently no known cure for COPD, and treatments are prescribed only to manage the symptoms of the disease and slow or prevent further damage to lung tissue. The most often recommended forms of treatment include:

  • Quitting smoking
  • Medication, including bronchodilators and inhaled steroids
  • Oxygen therapy
  • Surgery, including lung volume reduction surgery and lung transplant
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation therapy
  • Stem cell therapy

Whether it is you or a loved one who has been diagnosed with COPD, there are actions you can to take to manage the symptoms to an acceptable degree and help improve quality of life. For more information about COPD and how you can help to control it, contact the Royal Medical Group of Las Vegas, NV today.