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Living with COPD: Watch Mark's Story
Being Active With COPD
Dealing with a COPD Flare Up
Understanding COPD: A Doctor Q&A
Inhaler vs. Nebulizer: Which One is Better for COPD?
One of the best ways of controlling COPD is by inhaling COPD medicine. To do this, some use an inhaler with a spacer, some use a nebulizer, and some use both. So which one is the best way to deliver COPD medicine to your lungs? To learn about inhalers, check out my post “What is an inhaler?” To learn about nebulizers, check out my post “What is a nebulizer?” Both inhalers and nebulizers allow patients to inhale a low dose of a medicine to receive a more rapid response (sometimes immediate), with fewer side effects than taking the medicine systemically. So they both work great for people with lung disease. That said, let’s delve into this subject a little deeper and compare the two. Medicine Distribution. Many studies have been done comparing inhalers with nebulizers. Most suggest that, when used properly, inhalers used with a spacer work equally well as nebulizers. So, it would appear at first that there’s
Flying on an Airplane When You Have COPD
If you have COPD and you are considering travel that specifically involves airline travel, there are some facts that you should know. If you currently use oxygen, then your needs may change when you travel by air. How you manage the need for oxygen (or not) once airborne depends on a few factors. In order to understand what happens in higher altitudes, you have to first understand how oxygen is obtained from the environment. We breathe air in, and when it reaches the lungs (alveolar) air sacs, it has to cross over to the blood vessels that surround the sacs. Then the oxygen is carried by red blood cells, so that it can be used for energy by all the organs in your body. Oxygen, like all gases, will travel in the direction of the highest pressure to lower pressure. At sea level, the air pressure is 760 mm of mercury (mmHg). Since the air you inhale contains 21 percent oxygen, the pressure of oxygen in the air is 159 mmHg. The partial pressure of the blood in your body that is carried by the veins into the lungs is only 40-50mmHg. That means that there is enough of a differential in the pressures to allow oxygen to naturally move from the lungs into the bloodstream, so that the arteries that leave the heart are carrying oxygenated blood. This scenario just described is what occ
Eli Hendel, M.D.
How is COPD Diagnosed?
So you’re having trouble breathing and are wondering if it’s chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). You’ve called a doctor and made an appointment. Now what? Like asthma, COPD is sometimes difficult to diagnose because there are many other diseases that may cause trouble breathing. Also like asthma, there is no one specific test to diagnose COPD. A typical process of diagnosis involves a combination of the following. 1. Medical History. COPD usually develops over time, and after long-term (chronic) exposure to inhaled chemicals. Your answers to simple questions may show you have an increased probability of having COPD, indicating further testing is needed. Common questions are: Are you short of breath? Has it gotten worse over time? Does it get worse with exercise? Do you have a family history of lung disease? Do you have an ongoing cough? Do you cough up sputum? What color is it? Have you ever had regular exposure to any of the following: cigarette smoke, wood smoke, or chemicals at work.
Breaking Down a Pulmonary Function Test (PFT)
Pulmonary Function Testing (PFT) is a standard test that can help diagnose chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The results may also determine how severe your disease is, and how well treatment is working. A main part of the testing involves placing your mouth over a mouthpiece, blocking your nose with clamps, inhaling as deeply as you can, and forcibly exhaling as long and hard as you can until no more breath comes out. These results are recorded. FVC. Forced Vital Capacity. Total amount of air you can exhale after deep inhalation. TLC. Total Lung Capacity. How much air remains in your lungs after you completely exhale. RV. Residual Volume. Air that remains inside your lungs even after the most forcible exhalation. Some air stays inside to keep your lungs open. FEV1. Forced Expiratory Volume at the one second mark of FVC. FEV1/ FVC. Expresses FEV1 as a percentage of the predicted value. This test is very sensitive, and a good measure of severity. By looking at these n
Morning Routines Keep Lungs Healthy
Our new COPD writer discusses how his morning routine helps him manage his COPD and breathe better.
Quizzes and Assessments
Better Breathing with COPD
Lesser-Known Smoking Risks
6 Signs Your COPD is Getting Worse