What Is COPD?:
COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
. It is a disease that develops over time and causes obstruction of the airways in your lungs, as well as limits the flow of air both to and from your lungs.
What are the Symptoms of COPD?:
How is COPD Diagnosed?:
How is COPD Treated?:
What is a COPD Exacerbation?:
Put simply, a COPD exacerbation is a period of time when your COPD symptoms worsen. A COPD exacerbation puts people with COPD at greater risk for hospitalizations and death. That is why it is vitally important to prevent an exacerbation before it occurs.
Will I Be Required to Use Supplemental Oxygen?:
Not everyone with COPD requires oxygen. The need for oxygen therapy is individualized and depends upon the amount of oxygen in your blood as measured by arterial blood gases
and your oxygen saturation
level. Remember, oxygen is a drug and should only be prescribed by your doctor.
Are There Any Surgeries Available to Treat COPD?:
There are three types of surgery used to treat very severe COPD in a select group of patients: Bullectomy
, lung volume reduction surgery
, and lung transplantation
. Only a small percentage of COPD patients qualify for surgical intervention as doctors use very strict criteria to select surgical candidates. Surgical intervention does not prolong survival, but does improve quality of life.
What Are the Stages of COPD?:
There are four stages of COPD: Mild, moderate, severe and very severe. The stages of COPD define the disease according to its severity. Staging is generally done in your doctor's office by spirometry.
How Long Will I Live After I am Diagnosed?:
COPD is not a death sentence; with proper treatment, it can be controlled. That said, there are factors that influence COPD life expectancy, namely body mass index
, degree of airway obstruction, dyspnea levels, and exercise tolerance.
What Climate is Best to Live in if I Have COPD?:
Some people with COPD prefer cold weather; some prefer a warmer climate. The most important thing to consider is air quality, both indoor and out, and to avoid areas that have high levels of air pollution as this may exacerbate your condition. Another important factor to consider is altitude. Higher altitudes have less oxygen available in the air, which may increase shortness of breath in people who have COPD.
Do you want to learn more about COPD? Sign up for my free COPD E-course, and watch this informative About.com COPD video.