People with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) often struggle to breathe freely. For those residing in or near Northport, Alabama, Christine Falls, FNP-BC, and Alisha Marie Moore, CRNP, FNP-BC, of Northside Primary Care offer treatment to help manage this condition. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the practice online or by phone today to book a visit.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a term that refers to a collection of conditions that interfere with normal breathing. Each of these conditions is chronic, meaning they persist over time, and progressive, meaning they grow worse over time.
Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are the most common conditions within COPD. Chronic bronchitis develops when the lining of your bronchial tubes becomes inflamed. Your body responds by producing more mucus, which further reduces the space available for air to pass into and out of your lungs.
Emphysema develops when your alveoli, the tiny air sacs at the base of your lungs, begin breaking down. These sacs play a crucial role in moving oxygen into your lungs and moving carbon dioxide out.
Knowing what to look for can help you decide when the time is right to schedule a diagnostic exam. Some of the signs of COPD include:
If you notice these symptoms, schedule a visit at Northside Primary Care to determine the cause.
If you’re a smoker, find a way to quit the habit for good. This is the first step in treating COPD. If you continue to smoke, additional treatment efforts are unlikely to yield substantial improvement.
Medications can help manage COPD symptoms. Bronchodilators work by relaxing the muscles around your airway to allow air to flow more easily. There are short-acting options that you use only when needed or long-term options that maintain improved airflow.
Inhaled steroids are another option to open airways and ease breathing. Some people benefit from a combination of bronchodilators and inhaled steroid medications. Short courses of oral steroid treatment can also be helpful in certain circumstances. Antibiotics can reduce the risk of recurring infection.
Other therapies include supplemental oxygen or at-home ventilation therapy. Your practitioner might also recommend a pulmonary rehabilitation program that combines education, nutrition advice, exercise, and counseling.
If you’re ready to learn more, book a visit online or by phone today.