St. Francis Sleep, Allergy & Lung Institute
Pulmonary, Sleep, Allergy & Clinical Research Center located in Clearwater, Florida
Getting older causes plenty of normal bodily changes, but breathing problems aren’t one of them. If you’re beginning to notice trouble breathing or frequent coughing with or without exercise, Frank Averill, MD, at St. Francis Sleep, Lung and Allergy Institute in Clearwater, Florida, can conduct tests to find out if you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. Call the clinic at your convenience or book an appointment online to improve your breathing and get a management plan for your COPD.
COPD Q & A
What is COPD?
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a group of chronic conditions that affect your lungs and respiratory system, but it ultimately affects many more of your body’s functions, too. COPD conditions are chronic (they don’t go away) and make it hard for you to breathe. COPD-related breathing problems are linked to other issues, including high blood pressure and heart disease.
Conditions that fall under the COPD umbrella are:
Emphysema is a condition caused by damage to the small air sacs in your lungs. Their walls disintegrate, and they form together to become larger sacs that don’t absorb as much oxygen. This makes it harder for you expel the air from your lungs when you exhale, too.
If you have chronic bronchitis, the tubes in your lungs, called bronchial tubes, are irritated and swollen. They retain lots of mucus, causing you to cough a lot and have trouble breathing.
Refractory asthma is a type of asthma that doesn’t respond to treatment. If your airways constrict, inhalers and other medications don’t open them back up.
What are the symptoms of COPD?
Although there are several types of COPD, they all result in similar signs and symptoms. Symptoms vary from case to case, but you might experience:
- Shortness of breath that gets worse over time
- Tightness in your chest
- Dry coughing
- Coughing up mucus
- Wheezing when you breathe
- Increased breathing problems during exercise
COPD gets worse the longer you go without treatment, so it’s important to visit St. Francis Sleep, Lung and Allergy Institute as soon as you notice unusual breathing problems.
What are my treatment options for COPD
At St. Francis Sleep, Lung and Allergy Institute, the team assesses your symptoms to create your treatment plan. There is no cure for the condition, but there are lots of things you can do to ease your symptoms.
Your treatment and management plan may include a combination of lifestyle changes, medications, or devices:
- Quitting smoking
- Avoiding fumes and chemicals
- A wearable oxygen device
- Bronchodilator medications
- A structured diet
- An exercise program
- Stress control and management
In the worst cases of COPD, lung transplants or reduction surgery may be an option. St. Francis Sleep, Lung and Allergy Institute also conducts various clinical trials for which COPD patients may be candidates.
Don’t hesitate to call St. Francis Sleep, Lung and Allergy Institute or book an appointment online to speak with a provider about your breathing issues and find out if you have COPD.