When you think about lung diseases, you may automatically think about lung cancer. But there are lots of different types of chronic respiratory diseases that can affect the airways and lung tissues. At some point in your life, you will need to see a pulmonologist. If you are looking for a pulmonologist around Brooklyn, Brownsville, and East New York, you can contact us or visit our website for Doral Health and Wellness Pulmonary Center.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is one of the most common chronic respiratory diseases. It is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that causes obstruction of airflow from the lungs. Having COPD increases your risk of developing heart diseases, lung cancer, and other medical conditions.
Symptoms for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease don’t often appear until lung damage has occurred, and they worsen over time. Some of the signs and symptoms of this condition include:
- Persistent wheezing
- Chest tightness
- A cough that produces mucus
- Frequent respiratory infections
- Swelling in the legs, feet, or ankle
- Sudden weight loss
- Shortness of breath
Without treatment, these symptoms could get a lot worse. And there may be a period where they get suddenly worse, and they are more common during the winter season. Do not hesitate to contact us if you notice persistent symptoms of COPD. Especially if you are over 35 years old and you smoke or used to smoke.
COPD happens when the lungs become damaged and inflamed. And the leading cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is smoking, although people who don’t smoke still develop this disease. But the likelihood of having COPD increases in people who smoke more and in people who are constantly exposed to smoke.
- Smoking – this is the main and most common cause of COPD. The harmful chemicals found in cigarettes can damage the lining of the lungs and airways. Being a second-hand smoker or being constantly exposed to other people’s smoking can also increase your risk of developing COPD.
- Fumes and dust – exposure to certain types of dust and fumes from chemicals can also increase the risk of having COPD. Substances that have been linked to COPD also include silica dust, welding fumes, cadmium dust, coal dust, and isocyanates.
- Air pollution – research is still ongoing on the link between air pollution and COPD, but because exposure to air pollution over a long period of time can do damage to the lungs, it can also increase the risk of developing COPD in the long run.
- Genetics – some people have a higher risk of developing COPD because of their genes. If they have a family member or close relative with the same condition, it makes them more vulnerable to developing the same disease and condition.
Having symptoms that are consistent with symptoms of COPD doesn’t automatically make you have the disease. Your doctor will conduct tests to make the proper diagnosis. These tests can include:
- Spirometry – this is a breathing test used to check how your lungs are working
- Chest x-ray – this is a test to check the condition of your lungs, including chest infections
- Other tests, such as an ECG, echocardiogram, a CT-scan, and blood tests
Currently, there is no cure for COPD but there are treatments available that can help slow down the progression of the disease and control its symptoms. These treatments can include:
- Inhalers – usually, COPD can affect your breathing. An inhaler is often advised as it helps deliver the medicine directly to your lungs. Your doctor will teach you the proper use of the inhaler to maximize its effect
- Medications – if the symptoms are not controlled with inhalers, your doctor might recommend that you take oral medications instead. Some of the oral medications can include steroid tablets, antibiotics, and mucolytics
- Pulmonary rehabilitation – a therapy session that provides different healthcare professionals, such as physiotherapists, nurses, and sometimes a dietitian
- Surgery – surgeries are for patients that symptoms cannot be alleviated by medicines
- Lung transplant – this is an operation that removes defective lungs and replaced them with healthy lungs from a donor
Cigarette smoking is the number one cause of COPD, hence the best way in preventing the disease. We know that for some smokers, telling them to stop is ridiculous. But you have to keep trying. The best way in preventing COPD is to never smoke or to stop smoking. Try to do your best in preventing, or at least reduce, damage to your lungs.
Exposure to chemical fumes and dust is also another risk of developing COPD. If you are exposed to these chemicals because of work, talk to your superiors about how to protect yourself, such as wearing personal protective equipment.
Although there are several medical conditions that have the same symptoms as that COPD, it is still important that you get a proper diagnosis.
At Doral Health and Wellness Pulmonary Center, we offer the best possible expertise and care in all aspects of pulmonology. Our specialists make sure that our patients are well-taken care of and are involved in every step of the decision-making process. We also make sure to avoid invasive tests whenever possible. We offer the best pulmonologist in Brooklyn with an unrivaled pulmonary clinic in the heart of East New York. To schedule an appointment, you can visit us at 1797 Pitkin Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, or call us at 1-347-384-5690. You can also check and visit our website at https://pulmonologistbrooklyn.com to schedule an appointment online.