COPD

Physicians Medical Primary Care

Primary Care, Urgent Care & Walk-In Care located in San Jose, CA

Nearly six million American adults are living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD. Though there’s no cure for COPD, it’s possible to manage your symptoms and improve your overall quality of life. At Physicians Medical Primary Care in San Jose, California, family physicians Gina Bui, MD, and Sveltlana Burkhead, MD, specialize in the treatment and diagnosis of COPD. If you’re tired of struggling to breathe, make an appointment today by calling the office or using the online booking tool.

COPD Q & A

What is COPD?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic, inflammatory respiratory disorder that causes obstructed airflow in your lungs. COPD usually develops as a result of smoking cigarettes, but it can also occur due to long-term exposure to harmful gases or particulate matter.

Left untreated, COPD significantly increases your risk of more serious health problems, including heart disease, lung cancer, and a variety of other conditions. While there’s no cure for COPD, it’s possible to manage your symptoms and improve your overall quality of life. 

What are the symptoms of COPD?

The symptoms of COPD usually develop slowly, over an extended period of time. Common telltale signs of COPD include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness
  • Lack of energy
  • Unintended weight loss

If you have COPD, you might also experience exacerbations. An exacerbation is an episode that causes your symptoms to become worse. Some exacerbations last for a day or two, while others last for weeks at a time. 

Who is at risk of developing COPD?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease affects people of all ages, races, and sexes. However, certain factors may increase your risk, including:

  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Having asthma
  • Working around burning fuel
  • Exposure to dust and chemicals
  • Being 40 or older

You’re also more likely to develop COPD if the condition runs in your family. A genetic disorder known as alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency causes some cases of COPD.

How is COPD diagnosed?

To diagnose COPD, your Physicians Medical Primary Care doctor reviews your signs and symptoms, discusses your medical and family history, and does a physical exam. Depending on your symptoms, your doctor might also order a lung function test using spirometry.

Spirometry measures two things:

  1. How much air your lungs can hold
  2. How fast you can blow the air out of your lungs

Spirometry is incredibly effective and capable of detecting COPD before you have any symptoms. 

How is COPD treated?

Treatment for COPD depends on the severity of your symptoms. However, several options can improve your breathing ability. Your doctor starts by recommending you quit smoking if applicable. They also prescribe medications such as bronchodilators, which relax the muscles in your airways, or inhaled corticosteroids that help prevent exacerbations.

If your symptoms persist or get worse, they might also recommend oxygen therapy or a pulmonary rehabilitation program.

Don’t let shortness of breath interfere with your quality of life. If you suspect you have COPD or need help to manage the condition, make an appointment at Physicians Medical Primary Care today by calling the office or using the online booking tool.