The official blog of the Lung Institute.
COPD screening could mean delaying COPD progression, which can go a long way towards improving quality of life.
For many adults aged 50 and older, there is an inherent risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or other forms of lung disease—particularly in those who have a history of smoking, a chronic cough, if they’ve worked in a polluted environment or have a history of lung disease within their family. As we’ve mentioned before, time can be a critical factor in addressing COPD and other lung diseases. In order to mitigate further disease progression, it’s crucially important to seek treatment immediately upon diagnosis, and the first step is through getting a COPD Screening.
With your health in mind, the Lung Institute is here to break down the importance of COPD screening and provide the 5 best methods for COPD screening and why you need one now.
Why Should I Get a COPD Screening?
It is, unfortunately, common for many who suffer from COPD to be unaware that they have the disease. From what can seem like the natural process of aging (consistent cough and labored breathing), COPD can quickly develop into a progressive lung disease that threatens to affect the routine aspects of daily life. Whether you’ve noticed a slight change in your breathing, excessive fatigue or a consistent build-up of mucus, it’s better to be safe and proactive in addressing these symptoms by consulting with your doctor for a COPD screening.
The 5 Best Methods for COPD Screening
As the most common form of COPD screening, similar to blowing out birthday candles, spirometry is the easiest and quickest evaluation method and can be performed in nearly any doctor’s office. According to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, it is recommended that spirometry be used for people who smoke, have smoked or have symptoms related to COPD.
Performed by placing a clip on your nose and being asked to breathe into a mouthpiece for a given period of time, the spirometry test will show whether you have normal airway function or are expelling air more slowly than expected. In the case of the latter, this is indicative of chronic airway obstruction.
4. Chest X-Ray
In the case of emphysema, COPD and other lung diseases, an x-ray of the chest can show a great deal regarding the look and function of the respiratory system. An x-ray can also be used to eliminate other lung problems such as heart failure. For diseases such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) or Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD), an x-ray can reveal multiple cysts within the lungs, denoting areas of end-stage fibrosis and internal injury.
3. CT Scan
A CT scan is in many ways a more comprehensive look inside the lungs compared to the chest x-ray. Used primarily to view the extent of damage to the lungs, the traditional CT scan involves laying down flat on an exam table and having the lungs fully scanned. This type of scan works to show both acute and chronic changes within lungs’ parenchyma—the internal components of the lungs.
2. Arterial Blood Gas Analysis
The arterial blood gas analysis is a blood test that measures your lungs ability to bring oxygen into your blood and remove carbon. By analyzing the acidity (pH) and levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide within the blood, the test is used to determine the functionality of your lungs in moving oxygen throughout the body. After drawing blood from an artery, the blood is then tested to measure these chemical elements in order to determine lung health and the efficacy of current treatments.
1. Laboratory Tests
Although the traditional laboratory test isn’t used to diagnose COPD, it can be incredibly helpful in determining the cause of a patient’s symptoms, and whether the disease has been brought upon genetically, through smoking or through environmental conditions. Lab tests are able to deduce whether a patient has alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAt) deficiency, and whether it may be the cause of the patient’s COPD.
What Can I Do About it?
Although a diagnosis of COPD can seem insurmountable, the first step to living a longer life getting a COPD screening and finding a treatment that addresses the disease head-on. Changing one’s diet and gaining consistent exercise are among the best lifestyle changes one can do aside from quitting smoking. However, if you’re looking to address COPD disease progression directly, it may be time to consider stem cell therapy. Rather than only addressing the symptoms of lung disease, stem cell therapy may directly affect disease progression and may improve quality of life and pulmonary function. For people with lung disease, a change in quality of life could mean the difference between struggling to walk to the mailbox and riding a bike.
If you or a loved one suffers from a chronic disease like COPD, emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis or other symptoms of lung disease, the Lung Institute may be able to help with a variety of adult stem cell treatment options. Contact us today at (800) 729-3065 to see if you qualify for stem cell therapy, and find out what stem cell therapy could mean for you.
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