March 09, 2015

Living with COPD

Baptist Health La Grange: Living with COPD

Pulmonologist SCOTT KELLIE, MD discusses chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and describes the tests used to diagnose and treat the condition, which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

Living with COPD Health Talks Transcript

Scott Kellie, MD

COPD is a chronic disease characterized by airflow limitation. It includes diseases like chronic bronchitis, emphysema and some forms of asthma. The majority of people with COPD are people who have smoked, and it can also be caused by poorly controlled asthma over time. Oftentimes, it’s the shortness of breath that brings people in for further evaluation. Baptist Health La Grange has both inpatient and outpatient resources available to help patients with COPD. To make the diagnosis and assess severity, we use something called pulmonary function testing. One step is something called spirometry, which involves breathing into a tube in a specific manner. This allows us to assess for the presence of airflow limitation, and additionally allows us to assess the severity. The next step would be to do something called a body box, which allows you to breathe a fixed amount of air, and then we can determine your lung volume and how much air you retain, as well as how well your lungs take up oxygen. Treatment options for COPD are actually quite varied. The cornerstone of therapy is if the patient is still smoking, we have to work on smoking cessation. We can improve lung function and hopefully slow the rate of decline of COPD. We have therapies available such as pulmonary rehabilitation. We can also educate people on their disease and work with them to control the symptoms and reduce the frequency of those exacerbations.

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