At least 16 million Americans suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). At Florida Lung & Sleep Associates in Lehigh Acres and Fort Myers, Florida, our dedicated specialists offer compassionate treatment and long-term maintenance for this serious lung disease. To make an appointment, call the office nearest you or click the scheduling link for help now.
COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The term is used to refer to a group of conditions that impact breathing by restricting the flow of air into your lungs.
COPD is most common in men and women between the ages of 65-74. Statistics suggest that women, individuals with American Indian or multi-racial ethnicities, and those who are unemployed or retired have a higher risk of COPD. A history of smoking also dramatically increases your chances of developing COPD.
COPD causes symptoms including:
As your disease worsens, your breathing difficulties can intensify until you find it hard to breathe normally, even with simple low-energy tasks like getting dressed. You might lose weight, and it’s common to struggle with frequent fatigue as well.
Many COPD sufferers experience flare-ups in which symptoms dramatically intensify. These flare-ups may increase in both intensity and frequency over time.
Overwhelmingly, the most common cause is tobacco smoke. Both long-term smokers and nonsmokers who spend a lot of time around secondhand smoke can develop COPD. Less common causes of COPD can include pollution and industrial fume exposure. In rare cases, genetic disorders can cause COPD.
The first step in treating COPD is understanding the exact nature of your chronic disease. Diagnosing COPD usually involves pulmonary function tests, arterial blood gas analysis, and other tests like lung imaging. These tests determine the severity of your disease and help to plot your treatment course.
While not curable, COPD is very treatable with help from our specialists at Florida Lung & Sleep Associates.
There are two primary types of COPD treatment: rescue and maintenance.
Rescue treatments are short-acting medications that last only four to six hours, and you take them as needed when your COPD symptoms intensify.
Maintenance therapy involves taking medication every day. These medications start working gradually, and their effects last 6-24 hours. With consistent maintenance therapy, you may need less rescue medication.
Additionally, pulmonary rehabilitation can be a very effective way to treat COPD. The process involves a combination of nutrition advice, exercise training, education, and counseling, as well as a smoking cessation program if needed.
If you’re ready to breathe more freely, schedule an appointment at Florida Lung & Sleep Associates today to get started. Call one of the offices or use online booking right now.