Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
|Normal and Emphysemic Lung|
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- Cigarette smoking
- Inhaling toxins or other irritants
- Genetic predisposition that makes the lungs more vulnerable to damage from smoke or pollutants (includes alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency)
- Smoking cigarettes
- Long-term exposure to second-hand or passive smoke
- Family members with COPD
- Exposure to pollutants
- History of frequent childhood lung infections
- Age: 40 years or older
- Increased sputum production (mucus from deep in the lungs)
- Shortness of breath with activity
- Increased shortness of breath
- Choking sensation when lying flat
- Trouble concentrating
- Heart problems
- Weight loss
- Breathing through pursed lips
- Desire to lean forward to improve breathing
- More frequent flare-ups (periods of more severe symptoms)
- Lung function tests (spirometry)—to test the force of your breath
- Blood test—to test oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the blood
- Behavior change program
- Combination of behavior program and medication
- Opening the airways
- Relaxing the breathing passages
- Decreasing inflammation
- Treating lung infections (antibiotics)
Breathing and Coughing Techniques
- Pursed-lip breathing
- Controlled coughing technique
- Eat a healthy diet. It should be low in saturated fat. It should also be rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grain foods.
- Maintain a normal weight. Excess weight causes the lungs and heart to work harder.
- It may be hard to eat because you feel full. Try eating several smaller meals during the day. This is better than a few large meals.
- Slow down your eating pace. This will make it easier to breathe.
- If you need to gain weight, add food or drinks throughout the day. Talk to a dietitian about how many calories you need each day.
- Pace your activities.
- Learn relaxation techniques and other methods to manage stress.
- Seek emotional support from professionals, family, and friends. Anxiety can increase the rate of respiration. This makes breathing more strenuous.
- If you smoke, quit.
- Avoid exposure to second-hand smoke.
- Avoid exposure to air pollution or irritants.
- Wear protective gear if exposed to irritants or toxins at work.
American Lung Association http://www.lung.org
National Lung Health Education Program http://www.nlhep.org
Canadian Lung Association http://www.lung.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Breathing techniques. Canadian Lung Association website. Available at: http://www.lung.ca/diseases-maladies/copd-mpoc/breathing-respiration/index%5Fe.php. Accessed October 1, 2012.
COPD. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated September 25, 2012. Accessed October 1, 2012.
Eisner MD, Balmes J, et al. Lifetime environmental tobacco smoke exposure and the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Environmental Health: A Global Access Science Source. 2005;4:7.
Helpful hints for respiratory patients. American Lung Association website. Available at: http://www.lungusa.org/site/apps/s/content.asp?c=dvLUK9O0E&b=34706&ct=3004005. Accessed October 1, 2012.
Spirometry. National Lung Health Education Program website. Available at: http://www.nlhep.org. Accessed October 1, 2012.
What is COPD? National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/copd. Accessed October 1, 2012.
What you can do about a lung disease called COPD. Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease website. Available at: http://www.goldcopd.org/uploads/users/files/GOLD%5FPatient%5FRevJan10.pdf. Accessed October 1, 2012.
6/4/2008 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance. Availalbe at: http://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us: El Moussaoui R, Roede BM, et al. Abstract Short-course antibiotic treatment in acute exacerbations of chronic bronchitis and COPD: a meta-analysis of double-blind studies. Thorax. 2008;63:415-422.
11/6/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance. Availalbe at: http://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us: Poole P, Chacko E, et al. Influenza vaccine for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009;(4):CD002733.
12/14/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance. http://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us: Donesky-Cuenco D, Nguyen HQ, et al. Yoga therapy decreases dyspnea-related distress and improves functional performance in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a pilot study. J Altern Complement Med. 2009;15:225-234.
- Reviewer: Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 10/2012 -
- Update Date: 10/11/2012 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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