Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Specialist

Family Practice Associates

Family Practice & General Practitioners located in Broomfield, CO

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can cause respiratory problems that keep you from the activities you love and negatively affect your overall quality of life. Pamela Abrams, MD, and the expert medical team at Family Practice Associates, PC, in Broomfield, Colorado, provide treatment to control the debilitating symptoms of COPD. If you think you may have COPD, call the skilled and knowledgeable team at Family Practice Associates or book an appointment online today.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Q & A

Family Practice Associates

What is COPD?

COPD is a chronic, progressive inflammatory lung condition that makes it hard for you to breathe. When you have COPD, you may experience disruptive fits of coughing and increased mucus production that interferes with your ability to work or participate in your favorite activities.

COPD includes two primary conditions, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis.

Emphysema

Emphysema involves damage to the tiny air sacs that transfer oxygen from your lungs to your bloodstream. This damage causes the air sacs to lose their shape and collapse.

Emphysema can also destroy the delicate tissue of these air sacs. This leads to having fewer, larger air sacs rather than many tiny ones, which can significantly reduce the efficiency of your lungs.

Chronic bronchitis

Chronic bronchitis means the lining of your airways is continuously inflamed and irritated. This can narrow your air passages and increase mucus production, both of which make it difficult to breathe.

What causes COPD?

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of COPD. Although most people with COPD are current or former smokers, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute reports that up to 25% of cases involve people who’ve never smoked.

Other potential causes of COPD include exposure to lung irritants such as air pollution, chemical fumes, and dust.

What are the symptoms of COPD?

COPD symptoms may be mild at first and grow progressively more severe as your condition worsens. Common signs and symptoms of COPD include:

  • A chronic cough that produces slimy mucus (smoker’s cough)
  • Shortness of breath, especially during physical activities
  • Wheezing or whistling when you breathe
  • Chest tightness
  • Frequent respiratory infections such as the flu

How do you diagnose and treat COPD?

First, one of the expert providers at Family Practice Associates performs a thorough physical exam, which includes listening to your lungs and reviewing your medical history for risk factors of COPD. They may conduct further tests to confirm a diagnosis, such as pulmonary function tests, a chest X-ray, or CT scan.

Treatment varies depending on the severity of your condition and cause of your COPD. The team at Family Practice Associates works with you to develop a treatment plan that best suits your needs. This may include:

  • Lifestyle changes like quitting smoking
  • Medicines to help you breathe easier
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation such as exercise and nutritional counseling

If you suspect you or a loved one is at risk for COPD, call or schedule an appointment online at Family Practices Associates today.