Feeling like you can’t get enough air into the lungs is not only uncomfortable, but it can be quite frightening, too. Your lung health is integral to your overall health and wellness, but illnesses like COPD can prevent you from living your best life. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to help improve your lung health, even if you’ve just discovered you have COPD.
What is COPD?
COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This occurs when the airways in the lungs become so inflamed that they’re obstructed, making it difficult for those with COPD to take full, deep breaths.
Typically, those who develop COPD do so because of chronic smoking or long-term exposure to certain chemicals or gasses. The symptoms of this disease are somewhat widespread, but the most common include chest tightness, wheezing, shortness of breath, chronic coughs that produce mucus, lack of energy, and even frequent respiratory illnesses.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that these symptoms don’t tend to develop until late in the disease. That’s exactly why regular lung scans can be crucial to ensuring your health is on the right track.
When it comes to COPD, there are two common illnesses that contribute to the development of the disease: emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
Emphysema occurs when there is permanent damage to the alveoli (air sacs). Alveoli aid in oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange in the blood, and this happens as we inhale and exhale. With emphysema, the alveoli lose their natural elasticity which results in obstruction, causing the lungs not to function properly.
Smoking is the major cause of emphysema, being the culprit in between 85-90% of all cases. However, it’s also possible to develop emphysema because of an inherited protein deficiency known as alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAT).
The symptoms of this complication are as follows:
- Shortness of breath
- Chronic, mild cough
- Barrel-shaped chest due to lung overdistension
Chronic bronchitis is chronic inflammation and thickening of the lining of the bronchial tubes. The inflammation causes the glands of the bronchial tubes to produce excessive amounts of mucus, causing increasing congestion and making it difficult to breathe.
This kind of complication occurs when irritants are inhaled for long periods of time. Higher rates of chronic bronchitis are found among coal miners, grain handlers, metal molders, and others exposed to dust. Smoking is also a major cause of chronic bronchitis.
The major symptom of chronic bronchitis is a chronic cough that produces large amounts of mucus and has been lingering for at least two months of the year, for the past two years, as well as shortness of breath.
Can You Treat COPD?
Unfortunately, COPD does not have a known cure. Thankfully, there are ways you can improve your daily life to help reduce some of the symptoms it causes and mitigate a bit of discomfort. When it comes to treatments and medications, for your COPD, you do have a handful of options.
First, you can explore treatment options such as continuous oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation, or even transplant surgery. Of course, it’s best to consult with your physician to see which of these options is ideal — and most beneficial — for your health and wellness.
There are also other, less invasive, treatment options if you so choose. Certain medications, anti-inflammatories, bronchodilators, antibiotics, diuretics, and expectorants can also help reduce the severity of your COPD symptoms.
Your individual treatment route will depend on factors like insurance, the severity of your COPD, and what you and your physician decide is what’s best for you.
Best Ways to Manage Your COPD Symptoms
Alongside treating the actual symptoms of your COPD, there are various ways you can help manage the disease throughout your everyday life. Here are some of our best suggestions for managing your COPD symptoms:
- Don’t smoke
- Avoid air pollution and cigarette smoke
- Avoid excessive heat, cold, and very high altitudes
- Maintain a normal weight
- Follow a nutritious well-balanced diet
- Take prescribed medication as directed
- Avoid exposure to dusts and fumes
- Limit activities during air pollution and ozone alerts
- Limit exposure to people with respiratory infections, colds, and the flu
- Drink lots of fluids
- Follow all your physician’s instructions
- Consult with your physician about an appropriate exercise plan
See, not so bad, right? The point here is that you have plenty of options, even if you’ve just been diagnosed with COPD. While it may be a tricky disease to come to terms with, you do have ways to improve your health and wellness and not feel held back by your lung complications. And here at Craft Body Scan, we’re dedicated to helping you find those solutions.
Checking Your Lung Health With Craft Body Scan
While Craft Body Scan cannot diagnose you or screen you for COPD, our experts can take a look at your lungs to ensure that they appear healthy and on track. Our advanced body scans are able to pick up abnormalities like tumors and inflammation in the lungs, letting you know that something underlying may be occurring in the body.
Once we’ve taken those images, you can show them to your regular physician and undergo more thorough exams to see exactly what’s happening in those lungs.
Regular lung scans like the ones we offer at CBS are crucial to helping you live your healthiest, happiest life. We’re able to see firsthand if there’s anything you should be concerned about and if lifestyle changes are necessary. We’re also able to see right away if your lungs are clear and working as they should.
Don’t wait until those symptoms of COPD start to occur. Check on the health of your lungs today with one of Craft Body Scans’ lung screenings. Click the link below to book an appointment.