COPD is a term used to describe a group of progressive lung diseases including chronic bronchitis, lung disease, and refractory asthma, all of which make breathing difficult.
In most cases, COPD is caused by cigarette smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke. In some cases, this debilitating disease is the result of exposure to chemical fumes or pollution.
Appropriate oxygen exchange requires the intake of air, which travels through the windpipe and then into airways, bronchial tubes, and alveoli (tiny air sacs that inflate and deflate). In patients with COPD, one of the following restricts the flow of air:
The most common signs and symptoms of COPD include chest tightness, wheezing, frequent coughing (either dry or with sputum), and breathlessness.
Approximately 30 million patients are thought to have COPD, only half of whom are diagnosed.
There's no cure for COPD, but treatment can help the patient maintain quality of life despite the disease. Treatment depends on the patient’s medical history, presentation, and treatment goals and varies from one patient to the next. The best way to ensure successful management of COPD is in collaboration with an experienced physician. Treatment may include:
In some cases, palliative care and alternative medicine are used to supplement treatments.
The primary care doctors at Austin Primary Care Physicians have extensive experience and expertise in the management and treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and focus on the whole patient, including both physical and emotional well-being.