Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a collection of separate lung diseases that get worse over time, especially for those who smoke. It is one of the leading causes of death and illness worldwide, with the most common conditions in the group being emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
What is COPD?
Lung damage and partial blockages make it difficult for people with COPD to breath. Most people with the disease have a combination of chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Chronic bronchitis is a long term cough with mucus that blocks the already narrowed airways. Emphysema is the result of long term lung destruction, lessening the surface area and making the oxygen to carbon dioxide exchange more difficult. Smoking is the leading cause of COPD, the more a person smokes, the more likely they are to get the disease.
COPD generally appears in patients over 40 years old presenting itself with varying symptoms after significant damage to the lungs. Wheezing, shortness of breath, chronic coughing and chest tightness can all be symptoms. The condition worsens if the patient continues to smoke or refuses medical treatment.
There is no cure for COPD, but treatments can ease the symptoms. Once it is diagnosed, the most important thing is for the patient to stop smoking in order to reduce further lung damage. Anti-inflammatory medications, steroids, oxygen therapy, bronchodilators through a nebulizer or a breathing machine are all possible treatment options. Doctors may also recommend exercise to help maintain leg muscles and a physical therapist to work with the patient to improve breathing.
HealthNow Home Healthcare assists patients with COPD and works with family members and physicians to develop a comprehensive treatment plan. Our healthcare professionals help patients transitioning back home after a hospital stay and will work with family members and doctors to develop a tailored program to:
Ensure that the house is free from factors including cold air, smoke or pollution that worsen the condition