Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is not a single disease, but rather an umbrella term to describe many lung disorders. The characteristic these diseases share is blockage to the airway. The common symptom is shortness of breath.
Chronic bronchitis, which can be the first step toward COPD, often results from ordinary chest infections like cold and flu. Emphysema, often called the chief culprit in COPD, compromises the lung's ability to function. Chronic asthma is the third constituent of COPD.
The diagnosis of COPD is made based on various lung function tests, physical examination, and medical history. The results of several different tests, all available at NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, must be compared before the diagnosis can be made.
Pulmonologists (doctors who specialize in lung diseases) at the Asthma and Lung Diseases program at NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital can prescribe various treatments, depending on the severity of COPD. Among the alternatives are bronchodilators, which open the airways, supplemental oxygen, and antibiotics. Patients are encouraged to exercise and to avoid smoke and other lung irritants.