The official blog of the Lung Institute.
If you think you may be experiencing symptoms of COPD, consider this. Screening for lung disease could mean delaying the progression of a degenerative illness, improving your quality of life and potentially increasing your life span.
Many adults age 50 and older are at 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 family history of lung disease. Time can be a critical factor in addressing COPD and other chronic lung diseases. To mitigate disease progression, it’s imperative to seek treatment immediately upon diagnosis. The first step is seeking COPD screening and if necessary, receiving a diagnosis. Should you be screened for COPD?
Why COPD Screening Matters
Many Americans live with COPD and remain unaware that they have the disease. What may seem like the natural aging process–consistent cough and labored breathing, COPD can quickly develop into a progressive lung disease that can hinder the routine activities of daily life. If you’ve noticed a change in your breathing, excessive fatigue or a consistent mucus build-up, it’s better to consult your doctor to find out if a COPD screening might be appropriate.
Recommended 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Should You Do?
A diagnosis of COPD can be discouraging, but getting a COPD screening early and finding a treatment that addresses the disease head-on is certainly better than living in denial until the disease has progressed for years. If you prefer to address COPD progression directly, perhaps it’s time to consider stem cell therapy. While traditional treatments for chronic lung disease address only the symptoms of lung disease, stem cell therapy may directly target disease progression and may improve quality of life and pulmonary function.
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 offers 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.