(10/24/12) Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a preventable and treatable disease.
COPD makes it difficult to breathe; it is one of the most common lung diseases. There are two main forms of COPD: chronic bronchitis, which involves a long-term cough with mucus; and emphysema, which involves damage to the lungs over time. Most people with COPD have a combination of both conditions. Smoking is the leading cause of COPD. Other risk factors for COPD include all types of tobacco smoking, second-hand tobacco smoke, occupational dust and chemicals, and outdoor air pollution.
Five symptoms of COPD include:
· cough, with or without mucus
· increase in respiratory infections
· shortness of breath that gets worse with mild activity
· trouble catching your breath and wheezing.
Because the symptoms of COPD develop over time, some people may not even know that they are sick. The best test for COPD is a pulmonary function test which involves blowing out into a machine that tests lung capacity.
There is no cure for COPD, but there are many things that can be done to relieve symptoms and prevent the disease from getting worse. If a person smokes, they must stop smoking to slow down further damage to the lungs. Medications can help treat symptoms. If oxygen in the blood is low, a person may need home oxygen.
Black River Memorial Respiratory Staff celebrated Respiratory Care Week October 21-27, 2012. Their staff offers a number of ways to help patients with COPD. For more information, please contact the Respiratory Care Department at Black River Memorial Hospital at 715-284-3670.