It’s estimated that chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) affects 13% of adults in the United States. When COPD goes undiagnosed and untreated, it progressively worsens, making it the fourth leading cause of death. Vikas Sayal, MD, FCCP, at Pulmonology Group LLC Lung Specialist is an expert in providing the individualized treatment you need to successfully manage COPD and stay active. To schedule an evaluation, call the office in Henderson, Nevada, or use online booking to schedule an appointment.
COPD refers to several types of progressive respiratory conditions that block airflow to your lungs. The two primary types of COPD are:
Chronic bronchitis causes persistent inflammation and excessive mucus production in the small airways inside your lungs, which makes it hard to breathe.
Emphysema causes permanent damage to air sacs. When air sacs are damaged, they collapse, trapping air inside your lungs. As a result, your body doesn’t get the oxygen it needs, and it’s hard to breathe in more air.
Refractory asthma, which is asthma that doesn’t improve with medication, is also a type of COPD. If you had any type of asthma as a child, you’re at a higher risk of developing COPD as an adult.
You may not have signs of a problem until your lungs have sustained a significant amount of damage. Chronic bronchitis and emphysema share similar symptoms:
Chronic bronchitis is defined as having a productive cough for three months. Difficulty breathing may occur before or after you develop a cough.
The first symptom of emphysema is more likely to be shortness of breath. In many cases, chronic bronchitis and emphysema occur together.
The top cause of COPD is smoking cigarettes. As you inhale smoke, it damages structures in your lungs and causes inflammation. Secondhand smoke, cigar smoke, and fumes or other airborne irritants can also cause COPD.
Dr. Sayal performs pulmonary function testing to diagnose COPD and to determine the severity of the problem. Pulmonary function testing includes a variety of different tests, one of which, spirometry, is a key test for diagnosing COPD. Spirometry is a noninvasive test that measures the amount of air you breathe in and out.
Treatment begins with smoking cessation, which is essential if you want to slow down the progressive worsening of COPD. Dr. Sayal may also prescribe:
Oral medications and medication-containing inhalers can help relax muscles in your airways, reduce inflammation, and prevent future flare-ups.
If you have moderate-to-severe COPD, you may need oxygen therapy to boost levels of oxygen. Dr. Sayal may also recommend pulmonary rehabilitation, which is a supervised exercise program to improve and manage your breathing.
If you develop a chronic cough or shortness of breath, don’t wait to get a thorough evaluation. Call Pulmonology Group LLC Lung Specialist or book an appointment online.