Flushing Hospital Pulmonologist, David Wisa Provides Information on COPD

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a common lung disease that is prevalent in our community. COPD can also be described as chronic bronchitis or emphysema.

COPD may cause shortness of breath, coughing, sputum production and wheezing. These symptoms result from damage and narrowing of the airways. COPD may also put patients at risk for pneumonia which is an infection of the lung

According to Dr David M. Wisa, Associate Director of Pulmonary Medicine at Flushing Hospital, “The most common cause of COPD is damage to the lung from smoking cigarettes, although not all smokers develop COPD.  The use of indoor wood burning stoves may cause similar lung damage leading to COPD. People who are found to have COPD at a young age may warrant further evaluation for possible predisposing genetic conditions.”

COPD can be a serious disease and symptoms may worsen over time without proper evaluation and treatment. The most important treatment methods are ones that patients can do on their own. First, quitting smoking will help reduce symptoms and reduce further damage to the lung. Lung function in all patients decline due to normal aging, in smokers with COPD that decline is significantly accelerated.  Second, patients should receive their flu shot annually and the pneumonia vaccine at the proper time as recommended by their doctor.

Further therapies for COPD can be prescribed by your primary care doctor or a lung specialist called a Pulmonologist who can prescribe medications that can help reduce symptoms and improve lung function.  They may include a variety of inhalers that can be taken daily or when symptoms arise. There are also some oral medications that are indicated in specific situations. Other therapies include home oxygen, an exercise program called rehabilitation and rarely surgery.

If you are having symptoms consistent with COPD see your doctor. If you would like to schedule an appointment with Dr Wusa, or any the Pulmonologists at Flushing Hopsital, please call 718-670-5486.

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.

November is COPD Awareness Month

Senior woman with Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with supplemental oxygen

Senior woman with Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with supplemental oxygen

The month of November is recognized as COPD Awareness Month. The purpose of this designation is to bring awareness to the severity of this disease and show how many people are affected by it.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a term used to describe different diseases that are related and that affect a person’s ability to breath. There are an estimated 15 million adults that have been diagnosed with the disease and approximately the same number who have the disease but who haven’t been formally diagnosed. It is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Some factors that contribute to developing COPD are smoking, inhaling second hand smoke, genetic factors, breathing in occupational dust and chemicals and spending long periods of time in areas with high amounts of air pollution.
Symptoms of COPD include:
Breathlessness
Chronic coughing
Wheezing
There is no cure for the disease. Presently treatment consists of alleviating some of the symptoms. If you would like to schedule an appointment with a pulmonologist at Flushing Hospital, please call 718-670-5486.

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.

Pulmonary Rehab for COPD

November is national COPD Awareness month. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a general term that describes progressive respiratory diseases including emphysema and chronic bronchitis. COPD is characterized by decreased airflow over time and increased inflammation of the lungs.

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A decrease in airflow often results in shortness of breath, which at times makes performing minimal physical activities difficult. One of the most recommended forms of treatments used to improve this issue is pulmonary rehabilitation for COPD.  A respiratory therapist can assess the severity of a patient’s condition before enrollment into a program by administering tests such as a pulmonary function test.

This form of treatment involves a series of exercises that teaches people breathing techniques that help them build physical fitness and lung strength.

Most pulmonary rehab programs include:

  • Exercise-This is one of the key components in pulmonary rehab. Patients are required to do a series of physical activities such as:
  1. Exercises to strengthen and improve breathing muscles
  2. Upper body exercises
  3. Lower body exercises
  4. Strength training
  • Smoking cessation- In order to improve quality of life and lung function, smoking cessation is often a goal or prerequisite in pulmonary rehab. Quitting is the most important thing a smoker can do to slow the progression of COPD.
  • Education-Programs offer education in either a group setting or on an individual basis. Education sessions are designed to teach people ways to manage their COPD or include lessons on understanding medication as well as using oxygen therapy.

Patients who participate in pulmonary rehab programs gain several benefits. Most see significant improvement in their breathing. It is suggested that participants continue the exercises even after completing a program by incorporating them in to their daily life. Those who do not may experience a decline in its benefits.

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.