March 16th, 2011
10:30 AM ET
What should I expect after COPD diagnosis?
Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Wednesdays, it's Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society.
Question asked by Pamela of Nashville, Tennessee:
I just learned that I have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema. Can you tell me about it and what the prognosis is? I also have coronary artery disease and have had stents placed.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a disease that truly negatively affects quality of life. Patients with COPD are prone to asthma-like wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and coughing that can occur in episodes caused by chromic inflammation. They're also prone to viral and bacterial infections.
It is the fourth most common cause of death in the United States, killing an estimated 120,000 people each year.
While COPD is most noted for episodes of shortness of breath and wheezing, the disease is typically slowly progressive and persistent. Medical treatment can be successful in relieving symptoms and reducing the severity of exacerbations.
Treatment is with inhaled bronchodilators, steroids to reduce inflammation and other oral medications.
Breathing problems? Check them with this test
Early diagnosis and good treatment are important as they can reduce the number and severity of exacerbations and prolong survival. Some people can live with this condition for several decades.
More than 80% of patients with COPD have a history of cigarette smoking. A few patients have it because of chemical inhalation exposure. Most are overweight or obese. Weight loss can also occur in severe COPD and is a sign of severe disease with a poor prognosis.
At one time, we distinguished different types of COPD, emphysema and chronic bronchitis. All patients with COPD have an element of each, although one component will usually predominate in the individual patient.
Chronic bronchitis is defined by a chronic cough that produces sputum. Emphysema is defined by enlargement and destruction of the airspaces in the lung.
When the physician examines a patient with very severe COPD one finds decreased breath sounds, wheezes, crackles at the lungs, and distant heart sounds. The patient's diaphragm in limited in movement, meaning the patient cannot take in deep breaths. In extremely severe disease, the chest size is increased.
Patients lean forward to use all the muscles of the chest and neck to bring air in. COPD can progress to cause heart failure, as the right side of the heart cannot pump blood into the damaged lungs.
Could your job be hurting your lungs?
Physicians use pulmonary function tests to assess the severity of COPD. These are tests to measure how fast it take a patient to fully exhale air, how much air he can exhale in one second, how much air he can inhale. X-ray and especially CT scans can also be used to assess damage to the lungs.
The arterial blood gases are a series of blood tests to determine how much oxygen and carbon dioxide is in the blood. As the disease worsens oxygenation goes down and carbon dioxide levels rise. Blood gas abnormalities acutely worsen during COPD exacerbations and often worsen during exercise and sleep.
Because most patients have a significant smoking history, most patients have many of the other illnesses associated with smoking, especially cardiovascular disease. These patients also have high risk for smoking related malignancies.
Unfortunately, poor lung function often interferes with or prevents treatment of the other diseases.
About this blog
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.
Good day! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for this website? I'm getting tired of WordPress because I've had problems with hackers and I'm looking at alternatives for another platform. I would be awesome if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.|
Wonderful goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to and you are just extremely magnificent. I really like what you have acquired here, really like what you're stating and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it sensible. I can't wait to read much more from you. This is actually a great site.|
Does your site have a contact page? I'm having a tough time locating it but, I'd like to send you an e-mail. I've got some suggestions for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great website and I look forward to seeing it expand over time.|
Appreciation to my father who told me regarding this web site, this website is genuinely awesome.|
Heya i am for the primary time here. I came across this board and I to find It really helpful & it helped me out a lot. I'm hoping to give one thing back and aid others such as you aided me.|
I don't know whether it's just me or if everybody else experiencing problems with your blog. It looks like some of the text in your posts are running off the screen. Can somebody else please provide feedback and let me know if this is happening to them too? This might be a problem with my browser because I've had this happen before. Cheers|
Hi there, of course this piece of writing is genuinely fastidious and I have learned lot of things from it on the topic of blogging. thanks.|
magnificent put up, very informative. I'm wondering why the other specialists of this sector don't understand this. You must proceed your writing. I'm sure, you've a huge readers' base already!|
I every time emailed this web site post page to all my associates, for the reason that if like to read it afterward my links will too.|
That is really interesting, You're a very professional blogger. I've joined your rss feed and look ahead to searching for more of your excellent post. Also, I have shared your site in my social networks|
Hello There. I discovered your weblog the use of msn. That is an extremely smartly written article. I will make sure to bookmark it and come back to learn more of your helpful information. Thanks for the post. I will certainly return.|
Simply wish to say your article is as astounding. The clarity in your post is simply excellent and i could assume you are an expert on this subject. Well with your permission allow me to grab your feed to keep updated with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please keep up the enjoyable work.|
Unquestionably believe that which you stated. Your favorite reason appeared to be on the internet the easiest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get annoyed while people think about worries that they just don't know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people could take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks|
Hi, i believe that i saw you visited my weblog thus i came to return the want?.I'm trying to to find things to improve my website!I suppose its adequate to make use of a few of your concepts!!|
An outstanding share! I've just forwarded this onto a friend who has been conducting a little research on this. And he in fact bought me dinner because I discovered it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending the time to talk about this issue here on your web site.|
Greetings! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could locate a captcha plugin for my comment form? I'm using the same blog platform as yours and I'm having problems finding one? Thanks a lot!|
It is in point of fact a nice and useful piece of info. I am glad that you shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.|
each time i used to read smaller articles that also clear their motive, and that is also happening with this piece of writing which I am reading at this place.|
Greetings! Quick question that's entirely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My blog looks weird when browsing from my apple iphone. I'm trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to resolve this problem. If you have any suggestions, please share. Many thanks!|
Greetings! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could find a captcha plugin for my comment form? I'm using the same blog platform as yours and I'm having problems finding one? Thanks a lot!|
Hi there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and found that it is really informative. I am going to watch out for brussels. I'll appreciate if you continue this in future. Lots of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!|
I visited many web sites however the audio feature for audio songs current at this web site is genuinely excellent.|
Hi, yeah this article is genuinely good and I have learned lot of things from it regarding blogging. thanks.|
Wonderful beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your website, how can i subscribe for a blog site? The account aided me a acceptable deal. I had been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast provided bright clear idea|
Thanks for a marvelous posting! I certainly enjoyed reading it, you will be a great author.I will be sure to bookmark your blog and may come back later on. I want to encourage that you continue your great posts, have a nice afternoon!|
This article is actually a good one it helps new internet visitors, who are wishing in favor of blogging.|
I could not refrain from commenting. Exceptionally well written!|
Hello, I think your blog might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog site in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, amazing blog!|
Hey there! I just would like to offer you a big thumbs up for your great information you've got here on this post. I'll be returning to your web site for more soon.|
Howdy! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could locate a captcha plugin for my comment form? I'm using the same blog platform as yours and I'm having problems finding one? Thanks a lot!|
wonderful post, very informative. I wonder why the other experts of this sector do not realize this. You should continue your writing. I am sure, you have a great readers' base already!|
Thanks for some other wonderful post. Where else may anybody get that type of information in such an ideal manner of writing? I've a presentation subsequent week, and I'm at the look for such info.|
This paragraph provides clear idea in support of the new people of blogging, that truly how to do running a blog.|
I like the valuable information you provide in your articles. I will bookmark your weblog and take a look at again here frequently. I'm somewhat certain I'll learn a lot of new stuff proper right here! Good luck for the next!|
Simply want to say your article is as amazing. The clearness in your post is just excellent and i can assume you are an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission let me to grab your RSS feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please keep up the gratifying work.|
Best view i have ever seen !
You are so awesome! I do not think I've read through anything like that before. So wonderful to discover someone with a few unique thoughts on this issue. Really.. many thanks for starting this up. This site is one thing that is needed on the web, someone with some originality!|
I am actually pleased to read this web site posts which carries plenty of useful data, thanks for providing such data.|
It's an remarkable piece of writing designed for all the web users; they will obtain benefit from it I am sure.|
Does your blog have a contact page? I'm having problems locating it but, I'd like to send you an email. I've got some ideas for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great site and I look forward to seeing it expand over time.|
I am regular reader, how are you everybody? This article posted at this web site is genuinely pleasant.|
This blog was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something that helped me. Cheers!|
It's very straightforward to find out any topic on web as compared to textbooks, as I found this article at this website.|
I used to be recommended this blog by way of my cousin. I'm no longer certain whether this put up is written by way of him as no one else know such particular about my difficulty. You're wonderful! Thank you!|
I am regular visitor, how are you everybody? This paragraph posted at this site is genuinely nice.|
Ahaa, its pleasant dialogue on the topic of this post here at this website, I have read all that, so at this time me also commenting here.|
Unquestionably believe that which you stated. Your favorite
reason seemed to be with the net the easiest thing to remember of.
I say to you, I certainly get irked whilst other people consider concerns
they just don't recognise about. You controlled hitting the nail upon the very best and defined out the whole
thing without any need side-effects , folks can go on a signal.
Will likely be again to get more. Thanks
Also visit my blog post :: OctavioSMuna
If some one wants expert view concerning blogging and site-building then i recommend him/her to pay a visit this blog,
Keep up the pleasant job.
Also visit my blog post; ReggieAHue
If some one desires expert view on the topic of blogging afterward i suggest him/her
to pay a simple visit this website, Keep up the pleasant job.
my homepage: zippered wallet