Some health conditions are easy to detect, but others like COPD develop gradually with symptoms that are too subtle to notice immediately. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a serious condition, especially if it continues undiagnosed and untreated for many years. Use this quick guide to familiarize yourself with the initial warning signs of COPD so you can seek preventative care and maximize your quality of life.
What Are the Signs of COPD?
COPD is an umbrella term for a collection of progressive lung diseases like chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and non-reversible asthma. There are many general signs that indicate the development of COPD:
- Increasing breathlessness
- Frequent coughing
- Chest tightness
In general, it isn’t normal to suffer from ongoing coughing and shortness of breath with age if you are healthy. Any of the above symptoms should raise warning flags that your health could be in jeopardy.
Your Lifestyle Choices May Contribute to COPD
It’s no surprise that smoking is a leading contributing factor to COPD. In fact, COPD occurs most often in people over 40 who have a history of smoking. A full 90 percent of people with COPD have smoked or are current smokers. Environmental factors like long-term contact with harmful pollutants in the workplace can also cause COPD.
How to Address COPD
COPD does not have a cure, but the sooner you receive the support of your doctor and begin treating your condition, the more control you can maintain over your health.
If you smoke, quitting is the single most important step you can take to minimize the symptoms of your COPD and reduce its impact on your life. Your doctor may recommend pulmonary rehabilitation, which is a medically supervised program to improve your breathing techniques. Surgery, oxygen therapy, and bronchodilators are other options for severe cases of COPD.
Prevention is the very best medicine, so commit to improving your lifestyle choices now, before your COPD has the opportunity to become any worse. For more help improving your health, call (352) 666-6950 to make an appointment at IMC Family Doctor in Springhill, Bradenton, Manatee, or one of many other Florida locations.