Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is defined as a group of diseases that obstructs airflow and causes breathing-related issues. But there’s so much more about living with COPD that goes beyond this basic definition. Those suffering from this chronic lung disease commonly experience frequent bouts of coughing or wheezing, shortness of breath, and difficulty taking deep breaths. Even everyday tasks like moving from one room to another can exacerbate symptoms among people with moderate to severe forms of the disease.
Fortunately, there are a number of treatment options available for anyone diagnosed with COPD. Although this is a chronic disease, there’s no reason a person can’t learn to manage their symptoms and enjoy the life they’ve been given. To explore the treatment options described below with a lung specialist in Tampa, schedule a consultation with Ravikanth Vydyula, M.D.
Smoking is the number one cause of COPD in developed countries like the United States. Cigarette smoke damages the lungs and reduces lung function. If you’re a smoker, the best thing you can do is to quit smoking altogether. This is easier said than done, but smoking cessation is vital for treating symptoms of COPD. However, as many as one out of four Americans with COPD have never touched a cigarette. Secondhand smoke, dust exposure, and air pollution are all irritants that can cause COPD and should be avoided if you’ve been diagnosed with this disease.
There are numerous medications that are used to treat COPD. Some are taken daily, while others are taken only as needed. Many patients experience relief with inhalers that can be used daily or before physical activity. Inhalers contain bronchodilators (medications that relax airway muscles), inhaled steroids (medications that reduce inflammation), or some combination of the two. There are also a number of oral medications, such as steroids or antibiotics, that are used to treat COPD. Because oral medications are not used for prevention and can be cost-prohibitive, they are generally reserved for severe cases of COPD.
Related: How to Manage Your COPD
In some cases, a person will need oxygen treatment if their oxygen levels are too low. Thanks to medical advancements, oxygen delivery devices are now lightweight and wearable. Oxygen concentrators and liquid-oxygen devices are small enough to fit into a bag and be carried anywhere. Other patients may find relief with pulmonary rehabilitation. Pulmonary rehabilitation entails developing COPD treatment in Tampa unique to every patient. Depending on a patient’s symptoms, their pulmonologist will train them in various breathing techniques, teach them how to manage their condition, and help them be able to exercise with less shortness of breath. With the assistance of a pulmonologist like Dr. Vydyula, patients can experience an improved quality of life through pulmonary rehabilitation.
Although there are more invasive treatments, it’s important to explore less invasive, more affordable treatment options that may better treat your symptoms. If you are interested in managing your condition and improving your lung health, schedule a consultation with Dr. Vydyula today.
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