What Is It?

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a group of lung diseases that block airflow in the lungs. These include emphysema or chronic bronchitis. This causes difficulty breathing, similar to those who suffer from asthma. The primary cause is long-term cigarette smoking, and it is one of the leading causes of death and illness worldwide. Many people who suffer from COPD may also suffer from asthma, but this is not always the case. Asthma can be found in non smokers, but COPD is found primarily in smokers. There is a difference between COPD and asthma and it is important to distinguish which a patient is dealing with. An allergist will take into account symptoms, medical history, perform medical tests and a physical examination. This will allow the allergist to determine whether the symptoms are from asthma or COPD.

Symptoms & Treatment

Treatment and how to approach symptoms will depend on whether it is necessary to treat both at once, or a single disease. While there is no cure, it is important to control symptoms to decrease the progression of damage to the lungs. It is also extremely important to stop smoking if you have COPD. Smoking will only quicken the progression of damage to the lungs, making the condition worse.

When treating COPD, patients are often prescribed bronchodilators, corticosteroids, and antibiotics during symptom flare-ups to prevent infections. It is also important for those with COPD to get the flu and pneumonia shots every year as they are susceptible to getting lung infections. Those suffering from COPD should avoid irritants such as pollution, cold and dry air, and smoke. Those with COPD can get a handle on their symptoms with the help of an allergist, like the board certified allergists at National Allergy & ENT. To schedule an appointment with an allergist, call (843) 797-8162 or schedule an appointment online.