Premier Primary Care
Internal Medicine & Pediatrics located in New Albany, IN
What are asthma and COPD?
Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are two of the most common respiratory problems worldwide.
Asthma causes your airways to swell, narrow, and produce extra mucus. COPD is a chronic disease that prevents adequate air supply from reaching your lungs.
Asthma affects people of all ages, from children and teenagers to adults and seniors. Many times, it’s present at birth and triggered by allergies or exercise.
COPD, on the other hand, usually occurs as a result of exposure to toxic fumes, cigarette smoke, or pollutants over an extended period of time.
There’s no cure for either of these conditions, but you can manage their symptoms. Medications and healthy lifestyle changes can ease uncomfortable symptoms, minimize flare-ups, and improve your overall quality of life.
What are the symptoms of asthma?
Asthma affects everyone differently. Some people experience mild symptoms occasionally, while others experience significant symptoms regularly. Common telltale signs of asthma include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain and tightness
- Whistling or wheezing sounds
If you have asthma, you might also notice your symptoms get worse during physical activity or exercise.
What are the symptoms of COPD?
The symptoms of COPD usually aren’t obvious at first. In fact, many people in the early stages of COPD don’t even realize it. As the condition progresses, telltale signs of COPD include:
- Having to clear your throat throughout the day
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing during physical activity
- Your lips turning blue
- Unintended weight loss
- Swelling in your legs and ankles
As COPD progresses, you might also experience significant weight loss.
How are asthma and COPD diagnosed?
To diagnose asthma and COPD, your provider at Premier Primary Care conducts a physical exam and asks you about the symptoms you’re experiencing. They also review your medical history and have you participate in a series of pulmonary function tests.
Depending on your symptoms, they might recommend spirometry or a peak flow test. Spirometry calculates the narrowing of your bronchial tubes by seeing how much air you can exhale after a deep breath. It also measures how quickly you exhale.
A peak flow test measures how quickly you exhale. If you have consistently low peak flow readings, it indicates a problem with your lung function.
If these measures aren’t enough to make a diagnosis, your provider might also recommend an X-ray, MRI, or laboratory tests to rule out other conditions.
How are asthma and COPD treated?
Treatment for asthma and COPD depends on the severity of your symptoms. When possible, the team at Premier Primary Care recommends conservative, integrative measures like quitting smoking, avoiding triggers, and pulmonary rehabilitation.
If your symptoms persist, he might recommend prescription medications or a quick-relief inhaler.
To learn more about your treatment options for asthma and COPD, make an appointment at Premier Primary Care by calling the office or booking online today.