Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a lung issue that typically worsens over time. November is COPD awareness month as the COPD Foundation wants everyone to learn about the signs, dangers and treatment options for this disease. The COPD Foundation works tirelessly raising funds, offering credible resources and holding events that raise awareness and increase understanding of this progressive disease.
According to the American Lung Association, there are multiple signs and symptoms of COPD. Among the common signs of COPD are chronic coughing, shortness of breath performing simple daily activities, frequent respiratory issues, overactive mucus production, constant fatigue and wheezing. However, people often don’t display many of these symptoms until COPD has progressed. These commonly hidden signs expand the dangers of this progressive disease, which currently has no cure or reversal treatment options.
When people are at risk of developing COPD, e.g., cigarette smokers, or display one or more symptoms, they should be tested using spirometry, machines that measure lung capacity and function quality, and/or chest x-rays. Only then can physicians and patients discuss and decide upon specific treatment plans. Those treatment plans appropriate for some sufferers may be ineffective for other patients.
Depending on disease severity, treatment plans will differ. Yet, the noted symptoms seldom vary. COPD signs, when they become consistent, should always trigger patient and physician concern, along with testing to diagnose the presence or absence of COPD. Treatment options for COPD are limited as there is, as yet, no cure for this disease. However, at least, diagnosis techniques are effective.Fortunately, there are newer medications designed specifically to treat COPD, that appear to offer some relief from the troubling signs of COPD. People should discuss these newer medications with their physicians to learn which ones may be appropriate.
Although limited, treatment regimens include quitting smoking, which often slows the disease progression, prescribed medications, predominantly inhalers and newer inhaler-based medication formulas, oxygen therapy, appropriate for more severe cases, pulmonary rehabilitation, which teaches patients about COPD, disease management techniques, offers support and counseling. In very rare cases, surgery becomes an option for those with severe COPD.
COPD is a growing progressive disease that can lead to emphysema. While not limited to cigarette smokers, COPD signs, diagnosis and treatment options should be understood by everyone. Similar to other forms of lung disease, COPD impacts many people, not just those who become victims of the debilitation. Family, loved ones and friends of sufferers often become affected by this disease. As more funds are targeted to researching a cure, the odds improve that better treatment options will exist. More primary care medical providers are becoming familiar with the signs and treatment options available to control the effects of COPD. This bodes well for COPD patients, hoping to enjoy an outstanding quality of life while minimizing the symptoms of this disease.