COPD Q & A
What is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease?
COPD is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects your lungs and interferes with your ability to breathe. It’s usually caused by smoking or exposure to irritating gases or particles. COPD increases your risk of other severe health conditions, including heart disease and lung cancer.
Conditions such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis also contribute to your risk of COPD. Emphysema destroys the alveoli at the ends of the smallest airways in your lungs while chronic bronchitis causes inflammation in your bronchial tubes.
What are the signs of COPD?
COPD usually develops slowly, and you may not notice symptoms right away. However, as time passes and your condition worsens, you may have symptoms, including:
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness in your chest
- Clearing your throat of phlegm first thing in the morning
- Chronic cough
- Excessive mucus production
- Frequent respiratory infections
- Bluish fingertips
- Low energy levels
- Swelling in your feet and ankles
You may also have exacerbations, which are periods when your symptoms intensify. Exacerbations could last for several days.
How is COPD diagnosed?
At New Tampa Internal Medicine Associates, Dr. Farooqui uses state-of-the-art respiratory testing and physical exams to diagnose COPD. He talks to you about your symptoms, general health, and lifestyle. For example, he wants to know if you smoke or have smoked in the past or if you have ever worked in an environment where you were exposed to chemicals or airborne particles.
He listens to your heart and lungs to identify the telltale wheeze. Dr. Farooqui also uses spirometry testing to measure your lung function. During spirometry, you breathe in and out through a device that measures the volume of air that enters and exits your lungs. Reduced respiration is a key indicator of COPD.
How do treatment plans manage my COPD?
While there’s no cure for COPD, Dr. Farooqui creates customized treatment plans to manage your symptoms and help you maintain your quality of life. He can prescribe bronchodilator and anti-inflammatory medication to open your airways to allow air to move more easily through your lungs. You may also benefit from oxygen therapy or pulmonary rehabilitation programs.
Of course, if you use tobacco products, Dr. Farooqui also offers smoking cessation support to help you give up tobacco for good.
Call New Tampa Internal Medicine Associates or make an appointment online today for expert diagnosis and personalized treatment for COPD.