Coping With COPD

Breathing should be easy. However, nearly 24 million Americans experience shortness of breath—a common sign of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

COPD reduces air that flows in and out of the lungs, which can result in a variety of symptoms—constant coughing, shortness of breath, excessive mucus, feeling unable to breathe, and/or wheezing.

“It’s extremely important to recognize the symptoms of COPD,” explained Charles Almeda, Associate Director of Respiratory Care at Flushing Hospital. “Too often, individuals don’t think much of these symptoms and by the time they are diagnosed, the disease has progressed significantly. Fortunately, COPD can be detected early and managed.”

Flushing Hospital’s Department of Respiratory Care boasts a Pulmonary Laboratory that uses state-of-the-art equipment to test for COPD. The tests, which are ordered by your physician, may include a simple pulmonary stress test (a six minute walk), a noninvasive pulse oximetry test (which measures one’s red blood cells), or a pulmonary diffusion capacity test to determine how well oxygen moves into and out of the lungs.

“While lung damage is irreversible, it can be managed with different treatment options,” said Almeda. “At Flushing Hospital, we provide a multidisciplinary approach to manage COPD including education, breathing techniques, nutritional advice, and oxygen therapy, which administers oxygen to the lungs, and medication.”

According to the American Lung Association, individuals should be aware of the risk factors associated with COPD. Smoking, air pollution, and genetics are all factors that can contribute to the development of COPD. To help prevent COPD and lead a longer, healthier life, it is recommended that individuals, especially those over 45 years old, pay attention to their risk-factors and seek a physician as soon as possible for treatment.
If you are at-risk for COPD or have been experiencing symptoms of COPD, please speak with your doctor or make an appointment to see one of our pulmonary specialists here at Flushing Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center.  Appointments can be made at 718-670-5486, Monday through Friday, from 8:30am to 6:00pm.

If your doctor requires that you undergo pulmonary function testing and you would like your test to be performed by one of Flushing Hospital’s highly qualified respiratory therapists, call the facility’s Pulmonary Lab at 718-670-8888, Monday through Friday, between the hours of 8:00am to 4:30pm. The laboratory also tests for several other respiratory conditions, including asthma and chronic bronchitis.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.