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Common COPD Terms: Understanding What They Mean

Common COPD Terms: Understanding What They Mean

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common lung disease that affects around 24 million people in the United States. When you’re diagnosed with COPD, your doctor might use terms that are new. To be able to treat your condition, you need to be able to understand the lingo. To help, we have put together a list of common COPD terms for you.

First, we’ll start with COPD. COPD is actually a general term that includes several conditions, including chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic asthma. There are two main causes of COPD: cigarette smoking and alpha 1 antitrypsin deficiency. Polluted working conditions and occupational dusts can also cause COPD, especially among people who smoke cigarettes.

Anti-inflammatory

Anti-inflammatory are medications, like the steroid prednisone, for example, that reduce inflammation and swelling in the body. This is a very common COPD term, as many people with COPD are prescribed steroids to manage symptoms.

Anticholinergics

Anticholinergics are also called cholinergic blockers or maintenance bronchodilators. This medication helps to open breathing airways, allowing air to flow more easily into and out of the lungs.

Apnea

Apnea refers to the absence of breathing for more than 10 seconds.

Asthma, chronic

Chronic asthma is a long-term condition that inflames and narrows the air passageways. People with asthma will experience frequent wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and coughing. Coughing will often occur at night or early morning.

Bronchioles

There are bronchial tubes in your lungs that are branches of the air passages. Bronchioles are the smallest branches that connect to the alveoli, or air sacs.

Bronchodilators

bronchodilator

Bronchodilators are medications that are used to relax airway muscles, increasing airflow. They can also help clear mucus from your lungs. There are quick-acting bronchodilators, which are used for quick relief in an emergency situation, and long-acting bronchodilators, which are used to manage symptoms over a longer period of time.

Chronic

Chronic refers to any condition that occurs over a long period of time.

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research programs that are conducted with actual patients to evaluate the efficacy of a new medical treatment, drug or device. They are in place to find new and improved methods of treating various diseases and conditions. The Lung Institute participates in clinical trials in the state of Texas.

Compressed Oxygen

Compressed oxygen is a form of oxygen that is often prescribed for people with COPD. It comes in the form of a gas tank, and an attached flow meter and regulator monitor and adjust oxygen flow.

Corticosteroids

Corticosteroids are a type of steroid medication that are used when symptoms, like an exacerbation, gets worse, especially when there is increased mucus production. They can be taken orally in the form of a pill or inhaled.

Dyspnea

Dyspnea refers to difficulty or labored breathing.

Exacerbations

An exacerbation is also known as a symptom flare-up. This is another very common COPD term that you will likely hear your doctor use. Examples of exacerbations include: rapid and shallow breathing, coughing, feeling tired or confused, wheezing more than normal and having lower oxygen levels than normal.

Hyperventilation

Hyperventilation refers to an excessive rate and depth of breathing.

Hypoxia

Hypoxia occurs when there is not enough oxygen in your body tissues even though blood flow is adequate.

Inhaler

An inhaler is a small aerosol canister that is placed in a plastic container that releases medication when pressed down. It is a medication that can be breathed in. Many COPD medications are distributed through an inhaler.

Liquid Oxygen (LOX)

Liquid oxygen takes up less space (about 1/10) than that of a compressed oxygen tank. It can be refilled at home. Liquid oxygen has less pressure than compressed air, but can be very cold to the touch, potentially “burning” your skin.

Lung Reduction

A lung reduction is a surgical procedure in which damaged areas of the lungs are removed so that the remaining, healthier portion of lungs can function more effectively. Only certain people are eligible for this type of surgery.

Lung Transplant

A lung transplant is a surgical procedure in which a healthy lung that is taken from a donor replaces a patient’s unhealthy lung. Not everyone is eligible for a lung transplant, and the procedure often comes with several negative side effects. For example, a lung transplant patient will need to take specific medications for the rest of his or her life.

Oxygen Saturation

Oxygen saturation refers to the amount of oxygen that’s in your bloodstream. The normal range of oxygen saturation for adults is 94 to 99 percent. Anyone with an oxygen saturation level below 90 percent will likely require supplemental oxygen.

Pulse Oximeter

pulseoximeter

A pulse oximeter is a tool used to measure oxygen level in the blood. It is a device that clips onto your finger.

Spirometry

Spirometry is a test that measures the amount of air in the lungs after a person has inhaled as much as they possibly can.

Sputum

Sputum is mucus that is loose in the lungs. It is something that you may cough up.

Stem Cell Therapy

Stem cell therapy is a treatment option for people with COPD. It harnesses the body’s natural healing abilities and may work to improve quality of life. Stem cell therapy can be performed during any stage of COPD.

If you or a loved one suffers from COPD, stem cell therapy may be able to help. Contact us today for more information.

4 Comments

  1. Lung Institute

    4 months ago

    Larry,

    Thank you for your comment. If you are interested in learning more about treatment, please call (888) 510-7519 to speak directly with a patient coordinator, who will be happy to assist you.

    Thanks,

    Lung Institute

  2. larry skaggs

    4 months ago

    I like to breath better but i have towait to next year i got surgery coming for upper and lower extrimers they will put a spinal cord stimultar irt will take 12 weeks to recover if uthink u guys can helpme for next year get back wth me and having cmt1a so many med icine i cant take god bless u thank u

  3. Lung Institute

    4 months ago

    Larry,

    Thank you for your comment. I’m sorry to hear that you’re having a difficult time. If you’re interested in learning more about stem cell therapy, please call (888) 510-7519 to speak with a patient coordinator, who will be happy to provide any information and answer any questions that you may have.

    -Lung Institute

  4. larry skaggs

    4 months ago

    can u help me i was told by my doctor k have lungs compoared to a little kid inhaler wont work alli can use is a instrument to breath in to right now i got my cmt i to take care i cant walk i losing my handfunction god bless u

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* All treatments performed at Lung Institute utilize autologous stem cells, meaning those derived from a patient's own body. No fetal or embryonic stem cells are utilized in Lung Institute's procedures. Lung Institute aims to improve patients' quality of life and help them breathe easier through the use of autologous stem cell therapy. To learn more about how stem cells work for lung disease, click here.

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