For anyone recently diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) or anyone who cares for them, the details can be confusing. Even though there is no cure for the disease yet, there are treatments to help control symptoms and feel better.
What is COPD
COPD is a name that covers many types of lung diseases that all have one thing in common— breathing problems that get worse over time. Many people think their breathing problems are a normal part of getting older, but symptoms that don't get better are not part of aging. That's why the best way to find out if you have COPD (or a similar condition) is to see the doctor. There are a handful of symptoms to look out for, according to U.S. National Library of Medicine, to discuss with your doctor:
- Trouble breathing or problems “catching your breath”
- Wheezing often
- A cough that doesn't go away
- Coughing up mucus
- Shortness of breath, especially when walking or exercising
What is not COPD
COPD is not part of normal aging, so the symptoms must not be ignored. A simple test can help your health provider diagnose COPD. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, it is also not:
- Asthma, coronary artery disease, heart failure, cystic fibrosis or other lung ailments, but they all have some of the same symptoms. Each ailment needs different treatment or medication. Early and exact diagnosis is important so that the proper treatment is given as soon as possible.
- Always a sign of smoking. When someone has COPD, it doesn't mean that they are, or were ever, a smoker. The disease can be caused by second-hand smoke, by polluted air, by breathing in dust and chemicals from work places or genetics can also play a role.
- A reason to give up. Millions of people maintain their independence and enjoy life by properly managing their COPD. Learn more about portable oxygen solutions that provide freedom, independence and peace of mind here.
Those with symptoms or questions about their condition should consult a doctor right away. A medical professional can clear up any confusion and teach the patient how to control flare-ups or sudden worsening of symptoms, feel better and live better with COPD.