The rate of diagnosed cases of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease , otherwise known as COPD is growing at an alarming rate. This quick growth has prompted various industries to quickly provide treatments and services in which to address the growing populations that suffer with this disease.
The number of Americans diagnosed with either asthma or COPD is increasing, and expected to reach 43.9 million by 2016
- One of The best tests for diagnosing COPD is a lung function test called spirometry. The test is created to test lung capacity and it involves blowing out as hard as possible into a small machine. The results of the test can be checked immediately. The spirometry does not involve participating in any exercises, extraction of blood, or exposure to radiation.
- The minimally invasive use of a stethoscope to listen to the lungs can also be an option. However, sometimes the lungs can sound perfectly normal even when the patient has COPD.
- Images from x-rays and CT scans of the lungs can be utilized as well. However, like the stethoscope exam the results may appear normal even when a person has COPD (especially chest x-ray).
- An additional option is overnight oximeter testing which can be administered by NBN Respiratory. Contact us for a consultation!
Causes of COPD
- Smoking is a big risk factor in the contraction of COPD and 85 – 90% of COPD related deaths are linked to smoking. So it is imperative that the first step in effective treatment of COPD is to stop smoking, because this can really CAN SLOW DOWN COPD SYMPTOMS.
- Additional risks that increase a persons chances of getting COPD is exposure to air pollution, second-hand smoke, occupational dusts and chemicals, heredity and a history of childhood respiratory infections.
Stages of COPD
There are four stages of COPD, all of which have different signs and symptoms. Take a look at the various stages of COPD in the images below.
Image Source COPDResearch.org
Treatment of COPD
COPD is a very serious condition but it is treatable! For the best result it is recommended that immediate and aggressive treatment be administered while in its earliest stages. Although there is no cure for COPD, there are a variety of things that can be done to prevent the disease from getting worse and to relieve the symptoms.
As stated above, it is imperative that the person with COPD stop smoking. This is the best way to slow down the lung damage.
Medications used to treat COPD include:
- Inhalers (bronchodilators) to open the airways, such as ipratropium (Atrovent), tiotropium (Spiriva), salmeterol (Serevent), formoterol (Foradil), or albuterol
- Inhaled steroids to reduce lung inflammation.
- Anti-inflammatory medications such as montelukast (Singulair) and roflimulast are sometimes used.
In severe cases or during flare-ups, the patient may need to receive:
- Steroids by mouth or through a vein (intravenously)
- Bronchodilators through a nebulizer
- Assistance during breathing from a machine (through a mask, BiPAP, or endotracheal tube)
- Oxygen therapy, read more about this option below.
During some COPD flare-ups infections may occur and cause complications so Antibiotics are prescribed during these symptom flare-ups.
You may need oxygen therapy at home if you have a low level of oxygen in your blood.
Pulmonary rehabilitation is also an option. It does not cure the lung disease, but it can teach the patient to breathe in a different manner which can aid the patient in staying active. Exercise is advisable as well, because it can help patients maintain muscle strength in their legs.
Walking is recommended and a great way to build up strength.
- The patient should consult their doctor or therapist to determine how far they should walk.
- The patient should slowly increase how far they walk.
- Patients should minimize talking while walking if they experience shortness of breath.
- Patients should use pursed lip breathing when breathing out (this will allow them to empty their lungs before the next breath)
Things that can be done around the home to make things easier:
- Avoid very cold air.
- Make sure the patients household remains smoke free.
- Make sure there is clean air within the patients living space by reducing air pollution. Elimination of fireplace smoke and other irritants is strongly advised.
Those with COPD should change their eating habits, consume a healthy diet with an abundance of fish, poultry, or lean meat and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. If there is a problem maintaining optimum weight, the patient should talk to a doctor or dietitian about an increase in calorie intake.
Surgery can be an option as well, but only a few patients benefit from these surgical treatments:
- Surgery to remove parts of the diseased lung can help other areas (areas that are not as diseased) This may work better in some patients with emphysema.
- Lung transplant may be an option for severe cases of COPD.
As stated above, there are a variety of options available in the treatment of COPD. So speaking with a professional to explore all available options is strongly suggested.
NBN Respiratory specializes in the treatment of chronic and acute respiratory ailments. NBN Respiratory can assist with treatment of COPD and other respiratory ailments with nebulizer supplies, nebulizer medications, oxygen, oxygen travel supplies and more.
In addition to supplies and medications, NBN Respiratory works with The Better Breathers Club to help patients with respiratory diseases cope with their difficulties. The Better Breathers Club is run by respiratory therapists, asthma educators, and pharmacists that have completed the NCPA approved respiratory care certificate program.
NBN Respiratory can create a custom plan to fit you needs. If you want to know more about what NBN Respiratory can to do help manage your COPD, contact us now 856- 669-0217!