Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common lung condition affecting 13% of all adults in the United States. Since COPD gets progressively worse and there’s no cure, early treatment from pulmonologist Raees Ahmed, MD, at Healing Lungs can slow down the disease, keep your symptoms controlled, and help maintain your quality of life. If you develop an ongoing cough or shortness of breath, call the office in Conroe, Texas, or schedule an appointment online to get a thorough evaluation and personalized treatment for COPD.
COPD is an umbrella term that includes two primary lung conditions:
Chronic bronchitis develops when the airways in your lungs become inflamed and produce extra mucus. This condition is characterized by a mucus-producing cough that lasts at least three months, with recurring bouts over two years or longer.
Emphysema occurs when air sacs become damaged. The air sacs inside your lungs allow oxygen to flow from your lungs into your bloodstream. When they’re damaged, the sacs collapse, trapping air inside your lungs and depriving your body of the oxygen it needs.
COPD is caused by long-term exposure to irritants that damage your lungs. The top cause of COPD is cigarette smoke, but inhaling other types of tobacco smoke also leads to the condition.
You can develop COPD from breathing in secondhand smoke, air pollution, chemical fumes, and occupational dust. Though it’s not common, some people have a genetic condition that causes COPD.
The first symptom of chronic bronchitis is usually a cough, while shortness of breath is often the earliest symptom of emphysema. However, many patients have more than one of the following symptoms:
The severity of your symptoms depends on the extent of your lung damage. Symptoms that occur in severe cases of COPD include weight loss, loss of muscle strength, blue lips or fingernails, and swelling in your ankles, feet, or legs.
Each patient’s treatment plan is customized to meet their needs, but there’s one step that’s critical for everyone: If you smoke, it’s essential to stop smoking. Quitting smoking slows down disease progression and helps prevent complications.
Your treatment plan is designed to relieve your symptoms, maintain optimal lung function, and improve your quality of life. Dr. Ahmed may prescribe inhaled bronchodilators that relax your airways and make it easier to breathe.
You may also need inhaled or systemic corticosteroids to reduce inflammation and prevent flare-ups. If you develop a respiratory infection, Dr. Ahmed prescribes antibiotics.
When your COPD progresses to a moderate or severe stage, Dr. Ahmed may recommend additional treatments such as oxygen therapy and a pulmonary rehabilitation program.
When you develop an ongoing cough or shortness of breath, call Healing Lungs, or schedule an appointment online.