COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is a relatively common disease.
It tends to appear in several different forms.
- Chronic bronchitis.
This kind of COPD involves a frequent long-term cough and excess mucus production. Shortness of breath is common.
This type of COPD results in damage to the alveoli or air spaces in the lung involved in gas exchange. Common symptoms include a frequent dry cough and shortness of breath
- A combination of both chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
Patients may have an overlap of symptoms of both chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
- Less common diseases including bronchiectasis as well as severe persistent asthma may also produce chronic obstruction and frequent symptoms of shortness of breath and cough.
Smoking increases your chances of developing COPD, but it isn’t the only risk factor.
COPD symptoms develop over time. They can include one or more of the following:
- Chronic cough, dry or wet (i.e., with mucus)
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness or discomfort
These symptoms are also associated with other lung diseases and conditions, explaining why Austin Pulmonary Consultants routinely obtains pulmonary (lung) function tests, imaging and evaluation, and occasional blood tests prior to making a diagnosis and treatment plan.
Austin Pulmonary Consultants’ treatment plans generally focus on management and prevention. We’ll suggest lifestyle changes, such as smoking cessation, a healthy diet, and physical activity.
In addition, we might connect you with outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation and community support groups.
Besides lifestyle adjustments, medications are routinely involved in treatment.
These include quick-relief medications to treat acute symptoms and flare-ups as well as long acting medications designed to reduce airway inflammation and constriction. Oral steroids and antibiotics are frequently also used to treat acute flare ups or COPD exacerbations.