COPD

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

COPD

What is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive form of lung disease ranging from mild to severe. It is characterized by a restriction of airflow into and out of the lungs that makes breathing difficult. The term COPD encompasses emphysema and/or chronic bronchitis.

COPD Limits the Quality of Life

Many sufferers have trouble walking short distances and are especially susceptible to illness and pneumonia. Often, sufferers need oxygen support 24 hours per day. If you show signs of emphysema or chronic bronchitis you may have COPD. The long term effects of COPD result in an enlargement of the right side of the heart and eventual death. There is no cure for COPD but treatment options are available to prevent more damage and improve quality of life.

Men and Women

In the past, men were most commonly affected with COPD. However with the rise of tobacco use by females, specifically in high-income countries, men and women are now afflicted almost equally. In 2007, approximately 64,000 women in America died of COPD compared to 60,000 men.

Individuals 40 Years and Older

COPD is a progressive disease and therefore affects people later in life. As a result, current or former smokers 40 years or older are the most commonly afflicted with COPD. However, the age of the sufferer directly relates to the age at which his or her lungs were damaged. For example, a child who grew up in a heavily polluted area may be at risk to developing COPD much earlier in life.

Cigarette Smokers

Cigarette smokers are at the highest risk of developing COPD. The toxins in cigarette smoke absorb into the bronchial walls causing the inflammation and damage that leads to COPD. However, not all smokers develop symptoms. More research needs to be done as to why COPD only affects some smokers and not others. It is speculated that nutrition, genetic factors and other external influences contribute to the likelihood of COPD development.

Genetic Factors

Alpha-1-antitypsin deficiency causes COPD in a small percentage of people. Those with this deficiency do not need to be a smoker to be susceptible to this disease. It can also strike at a young age.

Chemical Exposure

A long-term exposure to dust and chemicals can cause COPD-related inflammation in the lungs.

Proper lung health is imperative to a person’s overall health. There are many related conditions and medical diseases that can impact the quality of your breathing and are not limited to the lung diseases treated at the Lung Institute. Below you will find more information about conditions that are intimately connected to the lungs and lung disease.

If you would like to find out more about our available treatment options, please contact one of our patient care coordinators today at (800) 729-3065 to schedule a free consultation.

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  • When you’re not feeling well, popping a pill is often the first line of defense. Got a headache? Take some aspirin or ibuprofen. Allergies bothering you? An antihistamine will likely help. Though medications like these may effectively relieve the symptoms they’ve been created to treat, sometimes they have unintended consequences. In the case of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) specifically, certain medications can actually make this condition worse. These include: 1. Opioids The reason opioids are on the list is because they can slow down the respiratory system—an effect called respiratory depression—making it even harder for someone with COPD to breathe. If taken in large enough doses, they can even result in coma or death. This risk is compounded even more when opiate-based drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine are combined with benzodiazepines. That’s why, as of August 31, 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that these classes of medications contain boxed warnings, “the FDA’s strongest warning,” to educate doctors and patients of this increased risk. 2. Antihistamines People typically take antihistamines for allergies, but they may also be taken to help treat colds, motion sickness, vertigo, and even anxiety. However, whether prescription or over the counter, they too can also potentially depress the respiratory system, resulting in the same effect as opioid-based medicines. In fact, some researchers suggest that this effect on the respiratory system is so strong that antihistamines may actually contribute to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), a condition in which a baby dies during his or her sleep for no apparent cause. 3. Diuretics With many doctors prescribing COPD patients a diuretic, this one may surprise you, but it made the list because of the fluids and electrolytes you lose when taking this type of drug, ultimately impacting your ability to breathe. That’s why some researchers suggest that, if you are taking a diuretic, your electrolyte levels should be closely monitored. A potassium supplement, or potassium-sparing agent is recommended too. 4. Beta Blockers Beta blockers can potentially make your COPD worse in two different ways. First, sometimes they produce bronchial spasms, aggravating this condition. Second, they might also directly interact with beta-agonists, a medication that many COPD patients are prescribed by their primary care physicians. 5. Antitussives When you have COPD, it’s important that you’re able to cough, helping you get rid of the secretions in your lungs. Antitussives block this by suppressing the cough, making it more difficult to take a good, deep breath. Because all of these types of medication can potentially interfere with your COPD, it is super important to discuss these (and all other medications) with your doctor before taking them—even if they are available over the counter or without a prescription. 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 [phone] or fill out the form to see if you qualify for stem cell therapy, and find out what stem cell therapy could mean for you. Interested in our article on medications that may make your COPD worse? Share your thoughts and comments below.When you’re not feeling well, popping a pill is often the first line of defense. Yet, in the case of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) specifically, certain medications can actually ... Read more
  • 7 All-Natural Stress Relief Techniques for COPD SufferersIf we don’t cope with stressful life events positively, the Mayo Clinic reports that we risk the development of conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. However, ... Read more

* 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.

All claims made regarding the efficacy of Lung Institute's treatments as they pertain to pulmonary conditions are based solely on anecdotal support collected by Lung Institute. Individual conditions, treatment and outcomes may vary and are not necessarily indicative of future results. Testimonial participation is voluntary. Lung Institute does not pay for or script patient testimonials.

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