If you’re a smoker suffering from a chronic cough, excess mucus in your airway, and shortness of breath, you could have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Caused by inflammation of the tissues around your airway, COPD is a chronic condition that worsens over time and can be a sign of greater problems to come. In addition to quitting smoking, there are several ways to treat and manage COPD with a doctor’s help. If you’re in the area of Clayton, Missouri, visit Brij Vaid, MD, of Personalized Direct Care for more information on COPD. Call the office or make an appointment online today to learn more.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) is a long-term disorder where inflammation causes constriction and obstruction of the airway. This obstructed airway leads to coughing and wheezing as well as difficulty breathing. It’s almost always the result of prolonged exposure to airborne irritants, especially cigarette smoke. COPD usually results from emphysema or chronic bronchitis and can have several serious complications.
You could have COPD if you notice:
Sometimes, COPD can be exacerbated for a period of a few days, causing all symptoms to become more severe for a short time.
COPD is almost always caused by smoking. Cigarette smoking is the most common culprit, but cigars and marijuana can also cause inflammation over time. About 20-30% of smokers will develop COPD.
If you also suffer from asthma or if you have an occupational reason to be exposed to airborne chemicals or irritants, you could be at greater risk for COPD.
COPD can be a nuisance on its own but it can be a cause or sign of something more serious. The most common is that people with COPD are more vulnerable to colds, the flu, and pneumonia. This can make it more difficult to breathe and can damage your airway long term.
COPD could also mean you’re at greater risk for heart disease for reasons that aren’t fully understood, so you should get frequent exams for heart disease if you have COPD.
COPD could also be a sign of lung cancer or high blood pressure. It can also lead to mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
If you have COPD, the best thing you can do for your health is to quit smoking, as this can at least halt the worsening of COPD and further damage to your airway.
If you’re interested in diagnosing or treating COPD, call Personalized Direct Care or set up an appointment online today to meet with Dr. Vaid.