Having the right medical team on your side can mean all the difference. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a chronic illness that makes breathing difficult. At Wilmington Adult Medicine, Stephen Liederbach, MD, is an internal medicine physician with many years of experience helping patients manage their COPD. For help treating COPD and your symptoms, contact the office in Wilmington, North Carolina, today for an appointment or book online.
COPD is a chronic medical condition that affects your lungs. It’s a condition that worsens over time and makes it more and more difficult to breathe.
Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the two most common types of COPD in the United States. People with emphysema have damaged airways, while people with chronic bronchitis have inflamed and irritated airways. Both of these conditions make breathing difficult.
Most people with COPD have both emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
COPD is caused by environmental irritants that damage the lungs, making it harder for the air you breathe in to get into your bloodstream. The most common cause of COPD is smoking.
Secondhand smoke, air pollution, and the inhalation of chemicals from factories can also contribute to the development of COPD. Asthma, if left untreated, may also lead to the development of COPD.
A genetic condition called alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, or AAT, may increase your risk of developing COPD, especially if you’re a smoker and have the genetic abnormality.
You can prevent the development of the chronic lung disorder by not smoking or quitting smoking. Avoiding secondhand smoke and wearing a mask when around chemicals, fumes, and dust may also help.
Dr. Liederbach can diagnose COPD with a physical examination that includes listening to breath sounds, along with various tests that might include spirometry, blood tests, or chest X-rays.
Spirometry is a painless test that measures the amount of air you’re able to blow out and how quickly.
There’s no cure for COPD, but with Dr. Liederbach's help, you can manage the disease, reduce symptoms, and continue to enjoy a full, active life. The most important thing to do if you’ve been diagnosed with COPD is to quit smoking if you haven’t already.
Medications, such as bronchodilators and steroids, may be recommended. Bronchodilators are inhalants that help relax the muscles of the lungs to improve breathing. Steroids help reduce inflammation.
Staying up-to-date with vaccinations, including the flu and pneumococcal vaccines, are important to help prevent illnesses. Both pneumonia and the flu can lead to serious complications for people with COPD.
For help with managing your COPD, call Wilmington Adult Medicine today or book an appointment online.