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COPD Remains Widely Undetected
According to the American College of Chest Physicians, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the fourth leading cause of death in the world. In the U.S., the CDC lists chronic low respiratory disease as the third leading cause of death among U.S. adults ages 55 and older. COPD encompasses several lung diseases, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis, all of which make it difficult to breathe. In the majority of COPD cases, smoking is the main culprit.
COPD develops slowly. People often don't seek care for it and aren't diagnosed until their 50s, when the disease has already affected their lung function and their lungs have been irreparably damaged.
COPD symptoms include a persistent cough with phlegm, fatigue, shortness of breath (especially during exertion), wheezing (a whistling or squeaky sound when you breathe), and chest tightness. These symptoms are often confused with asthma or thought of as a normal part of aging. Nevertheless, not everyone who has a persistent cough or phlegm develops COPD, and not everyone with COPD has a cough, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Although it is impossible to undo the lung damage caused by COPD or halt the disease altogether, diligent management of symptoms and lifestyle changes can slow its progression. First, an accurate diagnosis is needed.
Experts recommend a spirometry test for people who have COPD symptoms or who are at risk for COPD because of smoking and other risk factors. Spirometry, an easy, painless test, shows how well your lungs are working. For the test, you breathe hard into a large hose connected to a spirometer machine. When you breathe out, the machine measures how much air your lungs can hold and how fast you exhale after a deep breath.
An abnormal reading is any value lower than the predicted value for you; the predicted value is based on your age, height, ethnicity, and gender. Other tests used for diagnosing COPD include bronchodilator reversibility testing, chest X-ray, and arterial blood gas.
A treatment plan
If you are diagnosed with COPD, your health care provider will work with you to relieve symptoms, improve your ability to exercise, slow progression of the disease, and prevent complications. If you smoke, you should quit. Talk with your health care provider about methods you can use to quit smoking.
Treatment is based on whether your symptoms are mild, moderate, or severe. Your doctor may prescribe inhaled or oral corticosteroids, inhaled short- or long-acting bronchodilators, oral bronchodilators, or a combination of these medicines. Antibiotics may be needed periodically.
Your health care provider may also have you enroll in a pulmonary rehab program. Rehab programs include exercise, disease management training, and counseling.
You should take steps to reduce your chances of developing a lung infection. These include washing your hands regularly, avoiding people who have respiratory infections, getting a pneumonia shot, and an annual flu shot.
Here at the Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine, we are pleased to let you know that as part of your treatment you may be a candidate to receive hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT).
The following information is about HBOT and the important guidelines which must be followed carefully. This course of treatment can be highly beneficial, but the patient must be committed to success and knowledgeable about the process. We encourage you to provide our staff with any questions you might have.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy: Simple And Effective
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a treatment in which the patient breathes 100 percent oxygen inside a pressurized chamber for approximately two hours. The therapy quickly delivers high concentrations of oxygen to the bloodstream, accelerating the healing rate of wounds and is effective in fighting certain types of infections. It also stimulates the growth of new blood vessels, improving circulation, and helping to prevent future problems.
When You Arrive At The Center
After an initial consultation and examination at the Center, you will be ready to begin your therapy. When you arrive, you will receive complete instructions regarding your treatment. Before starting, you will change into a garment provided by the Center.
What To Expect During Treatment
Once you are comfortably positioned inside the chamber, the pressure will gradually increase and temperature will gently warm. You may experience fullness in your ears as a result of the increased pressure. The technician will instruct you in ways to help clear the pressure and relieve any discomfort. Most treatment sessions in the chamber last approximately two hours. While undergoing treatment, you may watch TV or DVDs, simply relax, or even sleep. The technical is in constant attendance and communication with you via an intercom system.
Getting Ready For Your Visit
For safety reasons there are certain items not allowed inside the hyperbaric chamber. Please do no wear or bring the following into the chamber during your treatment:
- Hairspray/hair oils
- Nail polish
- Alcohol or petroleum based products
- Metallic items (such as jewelry, watches, and coins)
- Flammable materials
- Hearing aids
- Cell phones
- Paper, Magazines, Books, or Newspaper
**Ask your hyperbaric physician for advice on wearing contact lenses during treatment. You should also refrain from smoking or the use of any tobacco products over the entire course of therapy. Tobacco use will prolong or even prevent healing of a wound site due to its effect on the blood vessels in your body.
If You Are Sick Or On Medication
You should inform the staff and the Center if you have a cold or cough, the flu, sore throat, chills, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Alert the staff to any medications you are taking, or changes in medication during the course of your treatment. If you are diabetic, please eat properly and continue to take your prescribed medication to control blood sugar level. Your blood sugar level will also be checked during each visit to the Center.
The Possibility of Side Effects
You may experience temporary vision changes that should return to normal a few weeks after your therapy is completed. Our physicians recommend that you not change the prescription of your eyewear during the course of your therapy. Some patients experience fatigue during treatment. This is completely normal.
Other Important Information
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is usually administered on an outpatient basis. If you drive, you may drive yourself to the Center for therapy, and should allow up to two and one half hours for each visit. Medicare and most health care plans reimburse for hyperbaric oxygen therapy for "currently accepted indications." Our courteous and professional staff is available to assist you with all of your personal insurance issues.
We look forward to serving you. Please contact a member of our staff with any other questions you may have regarding your therapy at 954-776-8920.