Overview and Symptoms:
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic lung disease that leads to obstruction of your airways. Symptoms include shortness of breath, cough, mucus (sputum) production and wheezing.
It can be caused by long-term exposure to tobacco smoke and pollution.
Diagnosis of COPD requires a complete review of your respiratory history and physical exam.
It is also important to measure your lung function when evaluating for COPD.
A Spirometry (Pulmonary Function Test) will help measure lung function. This test estimates the narrowing of your bronchial tubes by checking how much air you can exhale after a deep breath and how fast you can breathe out.
Chest Xray or CT scan may also be required.
Smoking Cessation is a crucial step in preventing further damage to your lungs.
Medications may also be needed to help reduce inflammation in your airways.
There are multiple types of COPD medicines:
- Inhaled corticosteroids. These anti-inflammatory drugs include fluticasone (Flonase, Flovent HFA), budesonide (Pulmicort Flexhaler, Rhinocort), flunisolide (Aerospan HFA), ciclesonide (Alvesco, Omnaris, Zetonna), beclomethasone (Qnasl, Qvar), mometasone (Asmanex) and fluticasone furoate (Arnuity Ellipta).
- Bronchodilators. These medications help relax the muscles in your airways and can help to relieve coughing and shortness of breath.
- Short Acting: include albuterol (ProAir HFA, Ventolin HFA, others), levalbuterol (Xopenex HFA), and ipratropium (Atrovent).
- Long-acting. These inhaled medications, which tiotropium (Spiriva), salmeterol (Serevent), formoterol (Foradil, Perforomist), arformoterol (Brovana), indacaterol (Arcapta) and aclidinium (Tudorza)
- Combination inhalers. These medications — such as fluticasone-salmeterol (Advair Diskus), budesonide-formoterol (Symbicort), formoterol-mometasone (Dulera) and Fluticasone-vilanterol (Breo) – contain a long-acting beta agonist along with a corticosteroid.
Your doctor can help determine which type of therapy is best for you.