COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is a debilitating, progressive condition that can literally take your breath away. Unfortunately, symptoms of COPD don’t usually manifest until significant lung damage has occurred. Although cigarette smokers are at greatest risk for developing COPD, nonsmokers can also develop the disease. The good news is COPD is treatable, and you can enjoy a good quality of life with early intervention. If you suspect you have COPD, Clarkston Medical Group urges you to call right away for an appointment.
Though shortness of breath is a common early indicator of COPD, that doesn’t automatically mean you have the disease. The following symptoms mark COPD:
- Tightness in your chest
- Excess mucus in your lungs upon waking, necessitating forceful clearing of your throat
- A mucus-producing wet cough that won’t go away
- Lips or fingernail beds turning blue (cyanosis)
- Frequent respiratory infections
- Swollen ankles, feet, or legs
- Unexplained weight loss (later stages)
If you are experiencing one or more of the above symptoms, the sooner you see a COPD specialist at Clarkston Medical Group, the sooner you can experience relief and go back to enjoying most of the activities you took part in before your diagnosis.
If you suspect you have COPD, it is imperative you call Clarkston Medical Group and make an appointment right away. Your physician will ask a few qualifying questions, such as:
- Do you wheeze or gasp when you breathe?
- Do you experience shortness of breath with minimal exertion?
- Do you smoke cigarettes, even just socially?
- If you have a cough, how long has it been going on?
- If you are a habitual smoker, do you need help to quit?
- Do you have a family history of COPD?
- Have you ever been treated for COPD?
- Have you ever taken beta blockers for hypertension or heart problems?
- Do you have any other medical conditions?
If your physician determines you are likely to have COPD, he or she will then recommend several tests, including, but not limited to:
- Pulmonary function test
- Chest X-rays
- CT (CAT) scan
- Blood gas analysis
- Lab tests for Alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency
If tests indicate you have emphysema, chronic bronchitis, or another form of COPD, your Clarkston, MI, physician will then evaluate which treatment protocols will help you breathe better and get your quality of life back.
If you are diagnosed with COPD, it is a very serious matter, but that doesn’t mean life as you know it is over. It simply means you have a disease that requires ongoing treatment. With proper COPD management, many COPD patients enjoy full, active lives, as well as a normal lifespan. At Clarkston Medical Group, your COPD treatment protocol will typically include one or more of the following:
- Medications, including:
- Inhaled or oral steroids
- Phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitors
- Oxygen therapy
- Pulmonary rehabilitation therapy
- Behavior and lifestyle modification
- Talk or cognitive therapy for depression, which often accompanies or follows a COPD diagnosis
Call today to learn more about managing your COPD.