What is COPD?
COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is a progressive disease that affects lung function and airflow. It includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, but sometimes patients suffer from symptoms of both of these diseases simultaneously. Emphysema occurs when certain parts of the lung are damaged and airways are obstructed, and can result from smoking or inhalation of toxic substances. Chronic bronchitis occurs when there is inflammation in the lungs, which causes excess mucus and a narrowing of the airways. Asthma is a similar condition characterized by airflow restriction and airway inflammation causing wheezing, shortness of breath and coughing.
Early diagnosis of COPD is essential for successful treatment. Our diagnostic process includes several different tests that determine lung capacity, oxygen levels, and a patient’s overall lung performance.
Diagnostic options include:
- Spirometry: (meaning “the measuring of breath”) is the most common of the pulmonary function tests (PFTs), measuring lung function, specifically the amount (volume) and/or speed (flow) of air that can be inhaled and exhaled. Spirometry is an important tool used for generating pneumotachographs, which are helpful in assessing conditions such as asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis, and COPD.
- Pre-Medication and Post-Medication Spirometry – These tests indicate if medications, such as bronchodilators, are effective treatments for each individual. Comprehensive Physical Exam
- Radiographic Studies: which may include chest x-rays or CT scans
Our Approach to Treatment
At Atlantic Medicine & Wellness, we provide a multi-disciplinary approach to treating COPD. The most common treatments for the condition include medication, supplemental oxygen, and programs for pulmonary rehabilitation. Our programs also include physical therapy and education, with the goal of designing an exercise program, diet, and lifestyle that improves a patient’s health. This also may include acupuncture to assist in smoking cessation and life style coaching for avoiding high-risk situations that may trigger symptoms for sufferers.