Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is characterized by abnormalities in the lungs that make it difficult to exhale normally. Generally, two distinct diseases are involved: emphysema and chronic bronchitis. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 75% of deaths from COPD that occur in developed countries are directly related to smoking tobacco.
Emphysema and chronic bronchitis cause excessive inflammatory processes that eventually lead to abnormalities in lung structure that permanently obstruct airflow (hence the term “chronic obstructive”). A recent study shows that adults with asthma are 12 times more likely to develop COPD than those who do not have the condition.
The quality of life for a person suffering from COPD may decrease as the disease progresses. At the onset, there is minimal shortness of breath. People with COPD may eventually require supplemental oxygen. None of the existing medications for COPD has been shown to modify the long-term decline in lung function that is the hallmark of this disease. Therefore, the goal of treatment for COPD is to provide relief of symptoms and prevent complications and/or progression of the disease with a minimum of side effects.
We at Pulmonary and Sleep Specialists of Northeast Georgia use a comprehensive approach to evaluate and manage COPD patients. This will involve a complete evaluation of the patient’s symptoms, their impact on their daily living, and the incidence of disease flare-ups. Our treatment regimen will include eliminating risk factors, using the state of the art medications tailored to the specific patient and their insurance coverage, pulmonary rehabilitation, oxygen therapy if needed, immunization, and nocturnal ventilation devices if needed.
We at Pulmonary and Sleep Specialists of Northeast Georgia are proud to be able to offer comprehensive care to our patients for this complex disease. Some of our providers are actively involved in the research of COPD therapies.