Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

A multifaceted lung condition characterised by persistent airflow limitation, encompassing chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

It arises predominantly from prolonged exposure to irritating agents, with cigarette smoke being the predominant contributor. COPD is a progressive disease that gradually impairs lung function, leading to chronic breathing difficulties and affecting overall respiratory health.

What are the Symptoms & Causes?

Identifying COPD can be intricate due to its nuanced and often subtle symptoms.

These include:

A gradual development of difficulty breathing, particularly noticeable during physical activities.

A persistent cough, often accompanied by the production of mucus.

The consistent production of mucus, sometimes leading to coughing.

The occurrence of a high-pitched whistling sound during breathing.

A sensation of pressure or tightness in the chest, contributing to overall respiratory discomfort.

These symptoms tend to manifest gradually, and it's noteworthy that individuals with normal spirometry results may still exhibit signs of COPD. Early recognition of these indicators is paramount for effective disease management. Experiencing any of these symptoms? Contact us to book an appointment today.

Coughing feature
Coughing old man

Who is at Risk?

Identifying individuals at risk is crucial for early intervention. Several factors elevate the risk of developing COPD, such as:

  • Smoking or Exposure to Second-Hand Smoke: The correlation between the amount of smoke inhaled and airflow limitation is significant.
  • Asthma: Individuals with pre-existing asthma have an increased vulnerability to COPD.
  • Exposure to Dust, Chemicals, and Fumes: Frequent exposure to occupational pollutants may contribute to COPD development.
  • Respiratory Infections: A medical history marked by recurrent respiratory infections can heighten the risk.
  • Underdeveloped Lungs: Certain individuals may have underdeveloped lung structures, predisposing them to COPD.
  • Age 40 or Older: The natural decline in lung function with age makes individuals aged 40 and older more susceptible.
  • Genetic Disorders: Specific genetic disorders, such as alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency, are associated with an increased risk of COPD.
  • Environmental Exposures: Prolonged exposure to air pollutants, workplace dust, and chemicals can contribute to COPD.

Diagnosis and Assessment

Accurate diagnosis entails a comprehensive evaluation, especially for individuals with identified risk factors. At North Brisbane Sleep and Thoracic Clinic, we employ spirometry—a fundamental test measuring the amount and speed of inhaled and exhaled air. This diagnostic tool is crucial for assessing lung function and detecting COPD at its earliest stages.

Further details about spirometry and its significance can be found on our dedicated Spirometry info page.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease | NBST

How is it Treated?

An effective approach to COPD management includes the following aspects:

A multifaceted strategy focusing on lifestyle adjustments, targeted interventions, and self-education to improve daily function and enhance the overall quality of life.

Anticipating and addressing potential issues to prevent the progression of symptoms and improve long-term outcomes. This involves a proactive approach to managing the disease, including medications. Prescribed medications such as bronchodilators and corticosteroids help relax and open airways, reducing symptoms like shortness of breath and inflammation.

Development of personalised plans to control and recover from symptom flare-ups. These plans aim to minimise the impact of exacerbations on daily life and overall well-being. Regular reviews ensure ongoing benefits, allowing for adjustments to inhaler techniques, and ensuring the most effective pharmacological interventions are in place.

In cases of severe COPD, supplemental oxygen may be prescribed to ensure the body receives enough oxygen, reducing breathlessness and supporting overall respiratory function.

Your journey to optimal lung health starts with comprehensive care at North Brisbane Sleep and Thoracic Clinic.

We provide thorough COPD diagnosis, assessment, and management, prioritising your respiratory well-being. Take the first step towards a healthier respiratory future with us, where your lung health is our primary concern. Contact us and book an appointment today!

Contact us to book an appointment

Visit us at either our Clayfield or North Lakes location and experience compassionate care in a comfortable environment, tailored to meet your unique needs.