Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung disease that more than 16 million Americans live with daily. COPD causes frustrating breathing problems and often makes it challenging to accomplish daily physical activities. The team of doctors and nurse practitioners at Prima Medicine in Fairfax, Virginia, provide their patients with expert and compassionate COPD care. Proper treatment can improve your day-to-day life and prevent the risk of other conditions associated with COPD. Call or go online today to learn more about your treatment options.
What is COPD?
COPD is a lung disease, often caused by chronic bronchitis or emphysema, that results in breathing problems. Phlegm can block airflow to your lungs, causing overproduction of mucus, wheezing, fatigue, and cough, and lead to other health conditions.
Long-term cigarette smoking is the top risk factor for COPD. Smoking a pipe or cigar, secondhand smoke, and marijuana also put you at risk. This is even more dangerous if you have a chronic inflammatory airway disease like asthma.
Long-term exposure to air pollutants like dust, chemicals, and vapors can also irritate your lungs and lead to COPD. It’s important to note if you experience these pollutants in your workplace.
Although there is no cure for COPD, the proper treatment can help you manage symptoms. Quitting smoking, staying up to date on your vaccines, and finding medicines to treat flare-ups will help with COPD issues.
Talk to the Prima Medicine team about preventing conditions that may accompany COPD, like heart problems, respiratory issues, high blood pressure, and lung cancer.
What are the symptoms of COPD?
Unfortunately, you may not know you have COPD until your lungs are already severely damaged. Contact your doctor sooner than later if you experience any symptoms such as:
- Chronic cough that produces mucus or phlegm
- Chest tightness
- Shortness of breath
- Chronic respiratory infections
- Swelling in legs, feet, or ankles
- Unexpected weight loss
Breathlessness that prevents you from performing normal daily activities is a common first sign of COPD. Reach out for help before other symptoms worsen.
What are my COPD treatment options?
Although there is no cure for COPD, Prima Medicine offers manageable steps to improve your quality of life. Some treatment methods include:
- Stopping smoking
- Identifying and avoiding air pollutants
- Medicine to treat coughing or wheezing
- Pulmonary rehabilitation that gives you a manageable exercise and lifestyle plan
- Vaccines that prevent other lung infections
- Steroids or antibiotics that help with COPD flare-ups
- A portable oxygen tank to support low blood oxygen levels
- Bronchodilator inhalers that help keep your airways open
- Surgery for severe COPD patients
The team at Prima Medicine looks forward to discussing your COPD road to recovery. Reach out online or call the office to schedule an appointment today.