The disease is usually a mixture of chronic bronchitis, which causes inflamed bronchial tubes and increased mucus, and emphysema, which prevents air sacs in the lungs from stretching as much as they should.
Common symptoms of COPD include:
- Chronic cough
- Mucus that comes up when coughing
- Shortness of breath
Another thing for COPD patients to keep in mind is that their condition makes them more susceptible to developing lung infections, so they are encouraged to take preventive actions such as getting an annual flu and pneumococcal shot. Other precautionary measures include avoiding lung irritants like smoke and dust, using an air conditioner or air filter to ensure cleaner air at home and taking breaks throughout the day when necessary. Focusing on maintaining a healthy lifestyle by doing practical exercises and eating well also goes a long way to ensuring effective management of COPD.
If you are concerned you might have COPD, talk to your primary care physician. To find a primary care physician near you, visit www.gbmc.org/mydoctor.