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What is COPD?

COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This disease makes it hard to breath. It's progressive which means it gets worse over time. It can cause coughing that produces large amounts of mucus, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and other symptoms.

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of COPD. Most people who have COPD smoke or used to smoke. Long-term exposure to other lung irritants—such as air pollution, chemical fumes, or dust—also may contribute to COPD.

How is COPD Diagnosed?

Your doctor will diagnose COPD based on your signs and symptoms, your medical and family histories, and test results. If you have had a cough for a long time, be sure to tell your doctor how long you've had it and how much mucus (or phlegm) you cough up.

Your doctor will likely condut some lung function tests to see how much air you can breathe in and out, how fast you can breathe air out, and how well your lungs deliver oxygen to your blood.

COPD Treatment

Based on the results of your tests, your doctor will recommend a course of action that matches the severity of your COPD.  A combination of lifestyle changes and treatments can help you feel better and may slow the progression of the disease. At this time there is no cure for COPD.

  • Lifestyle changes which include quitting smoking and avoiding lung irritants.
  • Medicine which might include an inhaler and/or steroids
  • Oxygen Therapy
  • Surgery

Vaccines may also be good for COPD patients for pneumonia or the flu to help patients avoid an infection that could cause even more lung irritation. Vaccines are available for adults through Mission Clinic. Call to make an appointment. 

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