Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a group of chronic diseases which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis that compromises air flow, thereby making breathing difficult. Common symptoms of COPD are shortness of breath, cough, mucus, and wheezing.

COPD is commonly diagnosed with a spirometry test performed by your primary care physician (PCP) and/or your pulmonologist. Treatment usually includes the use of corticosteroids, given by pill or inhaled (breathe in) form. Corticosteroids decreases airway inflammation, thereby reducing swelling and mucus production, making it easier to breathe. Your treatment plan is typically created by your diagnosing physician, therefore working with your doctor is a very critical process. Here are a few steps to become an active participant in your care:
  • Keep a list of your medications.
  • Know your test results.
  • Take your medication as directed to get your condition under control.
  • Always schedule and attend follow- up appointments with your doctor after an ER or inpatient hospital visit.
  • Provide your doctor with a detailed explanation of your symptoms and describe your overall breathing condition.
Performing these tasks will prepare you for your next doctor’s visit. Additionally, providing feedback to your physician will assist in establishing a better doctor/patient relationship. Establishing a relationship will allow your physician to better understand how your body is responding to the treatment plan. Again, follow ups with your doctor are important in your COPD treatment.

Helpful Links:
COPD Foundation
NY State of Health - COPD Fact Sheet
CDC - NY COPD Fact Sheet
Lung.org