If you’re experiencing frequent coughing, shortness of breath, increased breathlessness, you could have a chronic lung disease like emphysema or chronic bronchitis. At Ithaca Primary Care, Dr. Stevanovic offers the highest quality healthcare solutions to the residents of Ithaca, NY, and the surrounding communities.
If you need help managing COPD lung diseases, call Ithaca Primary Care or schedule an appointment online today.
What is COPD?
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a blanket term used to describe a variety of progressive lung diseases, such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis, refractory asthma, and some forms of bronchiectasis. COPD results from lung damage. The most common cause of this damage is smoking, but exposure to lung irritants like fumes, gases, or pollution can also cause COPD.
What are the symptoms of COPD?
COPD symptoms can vary, but they typically include frequent coughing, tightness in the chest, fatigue, especially while active, wheezing or shortness of breath. With COPD, lung function diminishes over time and it becomes more difficult to breathe. As COPD progresses, it can cause irreversible lung damage.
How is COPD diagnosed?
Dr. Stevanovic diagnoses COPD through a physical exam and lab testing. During your exam, he asks about your exposure to cigarette smoke or other elements that cause lung irritation. Additional tests include spirometry to evaluate your lung function; chest X-rays or CT scans to look for heart failure, emphysema, or lung cancer; and blood tests, like arterial blood gas (ABG) tests, to determine blood oxygenation and carbon dioxide levels. Dr. Stevanovic might recommend additional lab tests to look for genetic links or to eliminate other potential health problems.
How is COPD treated?
Although there is no cure for COPD, Dr. Stevanovic can help you manage it. The earlier you receive your diagnosis, the more successful your treatment will be and less likely the risk of permanent lung damage.
Based on your diagnosis, Dr. Stevanovic creates a customized treatment strategy to reduce your symptoms and help you lead the fullest and most active life possible. Treatments for COPD typically include long-term medications to ease symptoms, short-term medications to manage flare-ups, and supportive therapies like supplemental oxygen. Dr. Stevanovic will help you incorporate exercises such as breathing techniques and controlled coughing to aid management of COPD.