Healthy Habits: Early detection of COPD key to successful treatment plan

December 1, 2017 GMT

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a progressive disease that causes difficulty in breathing and can cause chronic coughing and shortness of breath and produce large amounts of phlegm.

It is the third leading cause of death in the United States. More than 12 million people are diagnosed with COPD each year, and an additional 12 million likely have COPD and don’t know it.

COPD can be diagnosed in a simple test called spirometry. This test measures your lung capacity and is as easy as blowing into a tube in the comfort of your physician’s office.

Spirometry measures how much air you inhale and exhale, as well as the speed or flow of the air. It is often used to diagnose COPD as well as asthma and other conditions that affect breathing.

Early detection of COPD is key to successful treatment. However, many people do not recognize the symptoms of COPD until later stages of the disease.

If you experience any of the following, it is important to discuss with your doctor:

n Chronic cough

n Shortness of breath while doing everyday activities

n Frequent respiratory infections

n Blueness of the lips or fingernail beds

n Fatigue

n Producing a lot of mucus (also called phlegm or sputum)

n Wheezing

Once you have been diagnosed with COPD, you and your doctor can explore several treatment options to help manage your COPD including medications, surgery and other therapies that can improve your quality of life.

November is National COPD Awareness Month. Take time to learn more about COPD, it could save your life.

Healthy Habits Huntington is a partnership among Cabell Huntington Hospital, Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and St. Mary’s Medical Center. We are a community working together to improve our health. Our goal is to inform and encourage area residents on ways to improve their health. Join our conversation and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HealthyHabitsHuntington.