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Just breathe.

What is COPD?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is not actually just one disease; it is a group of lung diseases. These progressive illnesses can make it difficult to breathe. In a respiratory system without COPD, the airways and air sacs in the lungs are flexible and elastic. However, someone with COPD may experience one or more of the following:

  • Less elasticity in the airways and air sacs
  • Damage to the walls between air sacs
  • Thick and inflamed airway walls
  • An increased amount of mucus clogging the airways

The two main forms of COPD are emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Without proper care, these conditions can permanently damage the lungs.

COPD diagnosis and management in the Brazos Valley

Whether you think you may have COPD or you already have a diagnosis, our board-certified pulmonologists are here to help. Schedule an appointment today.

What are the symptoms of COPD?

In its early stages, COPD may have mild symptoms or may not cause any symptoms at all. As it progresses, however, people may experience:

  • Chronic cough
  • High levels of phlegm
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing or whistling sounds while breathing
  • Chest tightness
  • Difficulty with deep breathing

What are the risk factors of COPD?

People may have a higher than average risk of developing COPD if they meet any of the following criteria:

  • Former or current smoker
  • Family history of COPD
  • Exposure to inhaled irritants
    • Air pollution
    • Smoke
    • Dust
    • Fumes
    • Harsh chemicals
  • Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (a genetic condition)
  • History of childhood respiratory infections

If you meet any of these conditions, speak to your doctor to discuss your risk.

What treatments are available for COPD?

Our team of board-certified pulmonologists works with patients to discuss their unique needs and create customized treatment plans for their COPD. These plans may include:

  • Bronchodilators
  • Oral and inhaled steroids
  • Combination inhalers
  • Antibiotics
  • Lung therapy
    • Supplemental oxygen
    • Pulmonary rehabilitation
  • Lung procedures
    • Lung volume reduction surgery
    • Lung transplant
    • Bullectomy

If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of COPD, schedule a visit with a St. Joseph Health pulmonologist today.

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