If your physician has diagnosed you with COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), you may be wondering exactly what that means. The acronym COPD covers several different chronic lung diseases, including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and some forms of asthma. Emphysema is almost always a result of decades of smoking, although those with lung impairment to begin with, such as asthma, may receive this diagnosis sooner than their middle-aged or elderly counterparts. Smoking can also cause chronic bronchitis in younger smokers. In addition to active smoking, second-hand smoke, pollution, and a rare genetic disease can also cause emphysema. Excessive marijuana smoking can cause emphysema as well. While emphysema cannot be cured, there are several; steps you can take to effectively manage it and stop its progression.
If you a smoker and you are still smoking, you must quit immediately. Yes, quitting isn't easy; it is a well-ingrained habit in most smokers, but there are plenty of options to help you quit. Nicotine gum and patches, prescription medications, nicotine replacement systems such as vaping, and even hypnosis and behavioral therapy are all options to discuss with your doctor. Another option is a popular book called "The Easy Way to Quit Smoking" by author Alan Carr. One only needs to read the reviews to see how strongly former smokers recommend this book. Many people wonder how simply reading a book can make a smoker stop cold turkey, but it dispels the myths about why you smoke and totally changes the smoker's mindset.
Use Prescribed Pharmaceuticals
Most people with emphysema will be prescribed bronchodilators by their physician. Bronchodilators work by opening the airways in the lungs by relaxing the smooth muscles that envelop the airway. There are two different types of bronchodilators and other kinds of medications:
These bronchodilators are used to quickly reduce shortness of breath, with effectiveness taking about 15 minutes. They are used on an as-needed basis. They may also be used proactively before exercising.
Long-acting bronchodilators also help to keep the airways open, but different medications are used and are only used once or twice a day depending on the active compounds.
Chronic lung infections are common with emphysema because the damaged lungs are less able to clear themselves and pneumonia becomes a risk. Therefore, antibiotics are prescribed at the first sign of respiratory illness.
These are drugs that increase the lung's ability to cough up lung secretions and sputum as well as decrease their production.
Consult A Respiratory Therapist
A respiratory therapist can provide exercises and breathing techniques that can help strengthen the lungs. They can also use oxygen therapy and other medical equipment and supplies to help increase lung capacity and allow you to breathe easier.
For more information, contact local professionals like Corner Home Medical.