COPD 300x200Breathing is not something that’s taken for granted for the 16 million Americans with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

This progressive lung disorder, the third most common cause of death in the United States, manifests itself as both chronic bronchitis and emphysema. These conditions reduce the airflow into the lungs, causing the person to experience shortness of breath and fatigue. Taking years to develop, COPD is most often found in older adults, with most cases diagnosed after the age of 45.

Embassy Healthcare offers pulmonary and respiratory care at its Grande Oaks and Parkside communities in Ohio. These units offer a full range of services for patients, including 24/7 respiratory therapists, ventilator and trach care, pulmonary hygiene, aerosol treatments, and CPAP/BIPAP care.

COPD Symptoms

The most frequent early signs of COPD include:

  • Repeated coughing or wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Problems taking a deep breath
  • Excessive mucus, phlegm or sputum (saliva-mucus mixture) production
  • Chest pain

Risk Factors

By far, the single largest risk factor for COPD is smoking, which is responsible for up to 80% of all COPD-related deaths. The inhalation of tobacco smoke destroys the lung’s alveoli, tiny air sacs. This damage is irreversible. However, up to 25% of people with COPD have never smoked. Other risk factors include exposure to:

  • Secondhand smoke
  • Chemicals
  • Air pollution
  • Dust

Life After Diagnosis

COPD can make it difficult to do everyday tasks such as walking, going up stairs, working or taking part in social activities. Individuals may need to use portable oxygen tanks, experience memory loss, depression and other diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and asthma.

Typical treatments of COPD include:

  • Smoking cessation: The most important component of treatment
  • Pulmonary rehab: Customized treatment program teaches patients how to conserve energy and breathe easier, and offer suggestions on proper diet and exercise
  • Medication: Can help with coughing/wheezing symptoms
  • Vaccinations: Flu and pneumococcal vaccines can help ward off lung infections, which are serious problems in those with COPD

For more information about Embassy Healthcare’s pulmonary and respiratory care services, call us at 888-975-1379 or contact us online.