Doctor's Notes on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung disease in which obstruction of the airways occurs and typically worsens over time, making it harder to breathe. Types of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease include chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and refractory (non-reversible) asthma. The most common cause of COPD is smoking. Other causes of COPD include secondhand smoke exposure, occupational exposures (for example, coal workers, welders, sensitized cotton and flour workers), untreated diseases that cause inflammation of the airways (for example, asthma), environmental exposures, and genetic conditions such as alpha-one antitrypsin deficiency.
Symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) include
- productive cough or chest cold (cough is usually worse in the morning and produces a small amount of colorless sputum),
- shortness of breath,
- wheezing, and
- frequent colds or pneumonia.
As COPD progresses and worsens, symptoms include
- shorter intervals between acute periods of worsening shortness of breath,
- discoloration of the skin (cyanosis) and right side heart failure,
- loss of appetite, and
- weight loss.
What Is the Treatment for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)?
COPD is a chronic disease and usually requires a lifetime of medical management. If you have COPD, some of the most important steps are to quit smoking and avoid others that do so. Mild improvement in symptoms can come just from quitting smoking. Also, quitting smoking can limit doing further damage to the lungs and making COPD progressively worse.
Your healthcare provider may also use the following treatment options:
- Medications to treat symptoms
- Pulmonary rehabilitation
- Learning to breathe better
- Breathing exercises
- Lifestyle modifications to maximize breathing capacity
- Prevention and treatment of lung infections
COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) QuizQuestion
COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is the same as adult-onset asthma.See Answer
Must Read Articles:
AsthmaAsthma is a disease that affects the breathing passages of the lungs (bronchioles). Asthma may be caused by genes and environmental factors. Asthma causes wheezing, shortness of breath, and other symptoms. Treatment includes avoidance of triggers and medications to control and prevent symptoms.
Asthma MedicationsAsthma is a disease that affects the breathing passages of the lungs (bronchi and bronchioles). Asthma is caused by chronic (ongoing, long-term) inflammation of these passages. Asthma medications include corticosteroid inhalers, oral and intravenous corticosteroids, leukotriene inhibitors, beta-agonists, anticholinergic inhalers, methylxanthines, mast cell inhibitors, and monoclonal antibodies.
Can a Person With COPD Get Better?I have a mild case of chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder. I quit smoking cigarettes immediately after I was diagnosed, but I want to do everything I can to get healthy. Can you be cured of COPD?
Chronic and Acute CoughsA cough is a symptom of an underlying disease or condition. A chronic or persistent cough may signal certain lung conditions that should be evaluated by a healthcare professional. Common causes of coughs include infection, allergies, lung disease, medications, and GERD (reflux). Acute coughs are categorized as infectious or non-infectious. Chronic cough (persistent cough) have a variety of causes and should be evaluated by physician. Treatment of cough, acute cough, chronic or persistent cough depends on the cause of the cough.
Chronic BronchitisBronchitis is inflammation of the air passages in the lungs. There are several viruses and bacteria that cause bronchitis. Exposure to pollutants or tobacco smoke are also risks. Bronchitis is contagious if it is viral or bacterial. It is not contagious if it is due to smoking, air pollution, and other inhaled irritants. Symptoms of bronchitis include cough, sore throat, wheezing, fever, chills, etc. Treatment for bronchitis depends on the cause.
EmphysemaEmphysema a long-term, progressive disease of the lungs. The most common symptom of emphysema is shortness of breath. Causes and risk factors for emphysema include cigarette smoking, alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency, air pollution, abnormal airway reactivity, gender, and age. Treatment includes medication, lifestyle changes (quitting smoking), surgery, and lung transplantation.
Heart and Lung TransplantHeart-lung transplants are indicated when the heart is unable to pump blood to all the organs of the body and does not respond to other medical or surgical treatments. Patients with end-stage heart failure who receive a heart-lung transplant must be on immunosuppressive drugs for the rest of their lives.
Secondhand SmokeSecondhand tobacco smoke exposure has been proven to cause lung cancer, other cancers, heart disease, heart attack, respiratory illnesses, asthma, ear infections, SIDS, and other diseases. Eliminating all exposure to secondhand smoke is the only way to avoid risk of diseases and conditions caused by secondhand smoke.
Smoking (Cigarette)Cigarette smoking remains the leading cause of death and illness among Americans. Effects of smoking can cause cancers, emphysema, bronchitis, COPD, chronic cough, and more. Smoking cessation includes nicotine replacement therapy and behavioral therapy.
What Are the Stages of COPD?There are four stages of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), which are determined by the total volume of air that a person can exhale and the amount of air a person can exhale in the first second of a hard exhale, which are measured in a breathing test called spirometry.
What Does a COPD Exacerbation Feel Like?COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is a group of chronic lung diseases that includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis, refractory (non-reversible) asthma, and some forms of bronchiectasis. Symptoms of a COPD exacerbation (flare-up) include tiredness or fatigue, more shortness of breath than usual, more coughing, more wheezing than usual, feeling unwell, feeling as if you have a cold, mucus changes, swollen legs or ankles, trouble sleeping, and others.
What Is the Main Cause of COPD?The main cause of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) in the U.S. is smoking tobacco, which accounts for up to 90% percent of all COPD cases. Other causes of and risk factors for COPD include secondhand smoke, air pollutants in the home and workplace, a history of respiratory infections, genetic factors, and poor indoor air quality.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.