Chronic pulmonary obstructive disease (COPD) affects about 13% of all adults, causing progressive lung problems if untreated. The doctors at Medical Alliance of Southern New Jersey in Vineland have extensive experience performing on-site lung function tests and providing individualized treatment to help keep you active and healthy. To schedule an appointment, call the office in Vineland, New Jersey.
COPD is a generic term that includes two primary types of lung disease, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. They each affect different areas of your lungs.
As air flows into your lungs, it first enters airways called bronchi, which branch into thousands of smaller tubes called bronchioles. Air sacs are located at the end of the bronchioles. Oxygen moves into your blood and carbon dioxide flows out of your blood through the air sacs.
Chronic bronchitis causes inflammation and mucus in the bronchi, while emphysema causes irreversible damage to the air sacs.
The primary cause of COPD is smoking cigarettes. As you inhale smoke, it leads to inflammation that narrows your airways.
Over time, smoke also damages the structures that normally clean your lungs. As a result, dust and mucus build up and you develop chronic smoker’s cough and bronchitis.
Cigar smoke, secondhand smoke, and other airborne irritants also cause COPD. For example, air pollution and exposure to dust, smoke, or fumes in your workplace may damage your lungs.
You may not develop symptoms until COPD has caused a significant amount of lung damage, then you may experience:
Its common to develop exacerbations. They occur when your COPD symptoms are worse than usual for at least a few days.
The doctors at Medical Alliance of Southern New Jersey can do pulmonary function tests on site. This type of testing measures numerous aspects of lung functioning, such as how much air your lungs can hold and whether your lungs are sending enough oxygen to your blood.
They also offer Alpha 1 testing at Medical Alliance of Southern New Jersey, which is genetic testing to help identify which lung disease gene you may have.
If you’re a smoker, treatment for COPD begins with smoking cessation. Your doctor may also prescribe medications that relax muscles in your airways, reduce inflammation, and prevent exacerbations. Your doctor may prescribe oral COPD medications or an inhaler.
If you experience shortness of breath or a persistent cough, call Medical Alliance of Southern New Jersey or book an appointment online.