The Truth About COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD is a chronic lung condition that makes it hard to breathe. It affects millions and is the third leading cause of disease-related death in the U.S. The truth about COPD is that difficulty breathing is only the beginning. Still, it is treatable and often preventable if you act now.

Inside COPD Lungs

COPD affects the airways and the tissues in the lungs, where the exchange of oxygen occurs. COPD causes a decrease in the flow of air in and out of your lungs. Less oxygen gets into body tissues, and it becomes harder to get rid of the carbon dioxide that is waste. There are two main types of COPD and those diagnosed have one or both:

  • Emphysema: When the walls inside the air sacs in the lungs are destroyed, and they merge into one giant air sac.
  • Chronic Bronchitis: This occurs when the cilia in the bronchial tubes are lost. The cilia help move mucus out of the body. Without them, you struggle to get rid of the mucus and develop a chronic cough.

80-95% of COPD cases result from cigarette smoking which is the top risk factor. The remaining causes are long-term exposure to secondhand smoke or other lung irritants.

Warning Signs and Treatment

Many initial symptoms aren’t recognized until the later stages, when valuable treatment interventions are lost. If you’re at risk, talk with your doctor about early intervention options and know the warning signs:

  • Chronic cough
  • Shortness of breath while doing everyday tasks (dyspnea)
  • Frequent respiratory infections
  • The blueness of the lips or fingernails (cyanosis)
  • Fatigue
  • Producing a lot of mucus
  • Wheezing

If you are a smoker, quitting smoking can prevent your COPD from worsening and is vital to overall health. Treatments will vary by person and severity and focus on slowing disease progression and easing symptoms. Medications can help patients breathe better and reduce flare-ups. Other therapies like pulmonary rehabilitation help increase stamina and decrease breathlessness. Supplemental oxygen and surgical options are available in more advanced cases.

The #1 thing yo help COPD is to stop smoking. Explore COPD studies today!

Change the Future of COPD as a Research Volunteer

The future of COPD care rests in the efforts of continuing clinical research studies. Research studies help us learn more about conditions like COPD to improve how we diagnose, treat, and prevent them. Volunteers participating in clinical research studies change the future of these conditions by making these advancements possible. If you have COPD and are looking for potential new care options, research studies may provide an opportunity.

COPD takes your breath away. Explore studies that may help. Older male grabbing chest in pain.

To learn how you can get involved in one of our enrolling COPD studies here at Florida Institute for Clinical Research, call (407) 658-0966 or visit our website.


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