Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD, refers to a group of diseases, including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and in some cases asthma, that cause airflow blockage and breathing-related problems.. In the United States, tobacco smoke is a key factor in the development and progression of COPD. Exposure to air pollutants in the home and workplace, genetic factors, and respiratory infections also play a role in COPD. In the developing world, indoor air quality is thought to play a larger role in the development and progression of COPD than it does in the United States.
Avoid inhaling tobacco smoke, home and workplace air pollutants, and respiratory infections to prevent developing COPD. Early detection of COPD might change its course and progress. A simple test called spirometry can be used to measure pulmonary—or lung—function and detect COPD in anyone with breathing problems. Treatment of COPD requires a careful and thorough evaluation by a physician. COPD treatment can alleviate symptoms, decrease the frequency and severity of exacerbations, and increase exercise tolerance.
For those who smoke, the most important aspect of treatment is smoking cessation. Tobacco smoke and removing other air pollutants from the patient’s home or workplace are also important. Symptoms such as coughing or wheezing can be treated with medication. Pulmonary rehabilitation is an individualized treatment program that teaches COPD management strategies to increase quality of life. Plans may include breathing strategies, energy-conserving techniques, and nutritional counseling. The flu can cause serious problems in people with COPD. Vaccination during flu season is recommended and respiratory infections should be treated with antibiotics, if appropriate. Patients who have low blood oxygen levels are often given supplemental oxygen.