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Published on March 24, 2017

Breathe Easier

Woman coughing due to COPD

Woman coughing due to COPDEmphysema. Chronic bronchitis. Non-reversible asthma. Bronchiectasis. Each of these progressive lung diseases falls under the umbrella of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). And each is characterized by increasing breathlessness, which can range from uncomfortable to critical.

COPD can have many causes. It can be the result of inhaling pollutants, like fumes, chemicals and dust found in some work environments. Or, it can be caused by smoking cigarettes, pipes or cigars. However, even people who have never smoked or were never exposed to pollutants for an extended period of time can develop COPD. In some people, a genetic condition can cause COPD.

Anyone at risk for COPD should be tested for the disease. Especially if you have a chronic cough, sputum production or shortness of breath. The test is called a spirometry and it’s non-invasive and easy. It simply measures the amount of air a person can blow out of their lungs and how fast they can blow it out.

If you do have one of the COPD diseases, there are things you can do to help you breathe easier. “Physicians have several treatment options to help patients manage COPD that can significantly improve their quality of life,” said Antonio E. Escobedo MD, an internal medicine physician at the Whittwood medical office building in Whittier. “In addition to several pharmaceutical options, you can learn how to manage your disease through pulmonary rehabilitation and lifestyle changes.”

If you suspect you may have COPD, see your doctor regularly. You will need to be sure you take precautions against seasonal flus, and you can learn about support opportunities from other COPD patients.

COPD doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t live a full and active life. Once you become aware of your symptoms, see a doctor and begin treatment options, you should be on the road to breathing easier.

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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