Have you been experiencing a productive cough for three months or longer? Do you seem breathless all the time? Do you get tired easily? You might want to visit our specialists in Urgent Care, Forest Hill as you could be suffering from a chronic lung disease called Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
COPD is a long-term and progressive lung condition affecting 16 million adults in the United States. Although smoking has been known as a major risk factor for COPD, recent reports have revealed that 25% of patients with COPD are non-smokers and have acquired the disease through exposure to dust, fumes, vapors, and second-hand smoke.
Forms of COPD
COPD that has three forms: chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and non-reversible asthma.
1. Chronic Bronchitis
The bronchial tubes are the passageway through which air travels to and from the lungs. In patients with chronic bronchitis, the bronchial tubes become swollen and irritated, narrowing the passageways. This leads to coughing and shortness of breath, as the body attempts to force air into and out of the lungs. Coughing also stimulates phlegm production.
The lungs have small air sacs where gas exchange takes place and these are called alveoli. In patients with emphysema, the walls of the alveoli are damaged. This leads to poor oxygen absorption. The lungs also lose their elasticity as the damaged air sacs form into a large, single air sac. This results in difficulty of exhaling air and shortness of breath.
3. Refractory Asthma
Refractory, or non-reversible, asthma is not like the regular bronchial asthma as it doesn’t respond to conventional anti-asthma medications. Patients often experience persistent symptoms such as shortness of breath and wheezing caused by the narrowing of the air passages.
Signs and Symptoms of COPD
The clinical presentation of COPD differs in every patient, as the disease is an umbrella of three conditions. Although adults develop a cough and shortness of breath from time to time, you should still consult our doctors in Forest Hill urgent care if you experience the following symptoms:
- Cough that lasts from 3 months to 2 years
- Shortness of breath
- Wheezing, or a high-pitched sound produced when breathing
- Chest tightness
Learn more about COPD from our doctors in urgent care Forest Hill
If you think you might be suffering from COPD, or know someone who does, don’t hesitate to drop by Urgent Care of the Palm Beaches clinic in Forest Hill. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment are the initial steps to managing this long-term, progressive lung condition.
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.