Medical Monday COPD

Published: Nov. 2, 2022 at 11:56 AM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - COPD is 1 of the top 5 diseases that can cause death. There are treatment options.

COPD also known as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, is a term to describe emphysema and chronic bronchitis that keeps your lungs from working correctly. Smoking, vaping, and environmental exposure are just a few ways someone can develop COPD. Jennifer Bartlett, RN and COPD Navigator with Northern Light AR Gould says there are symptoms to be looking out for.

Bartlett says, “Typically what people start noticing first is either a cough or shortness of breath. And um sometimes people will just plain attribute that shortness of breath to the fact that they are a smoker. So they don’t really think of it as a symptom of a chronic lung problem. But for us any change from a persons baseline is a cause to speak with their provider, express what is going on, the symptoms they are experiencing and perhaps have some follow up testing.”

Bartlett adds doctors are diagnosing people earlier in age. They are seeing people in their mid to late 40′s who have developed COPD. She says that’s why it’s so important to treat it as soon as possible.

“So, the earlier we can diagnose and get people on treatment, the better their quality of life is going to be down the road and better management of their symptoms, like that shortness of breath, like that cough. It’s, it’s just really important.” according to Bartlett.

Bartlett gives a few words of advice.

”It’s important that people with COPD, A. Understand how to recognize the symptoms of a flair up. Which is again that increase in cough, increase in shortness of breath, changes in their mucus and calling their doctor as soon as possible for treatment. If you smoke please talk to your doctor about either nicotine replacements or a formal quit smoking program.” adds Bartlett.

If you think you might be suffering from COPD or are reach out to your primary care physician.