Living with COPD: Things You Should Know

Mar 14, 2024

Urgent Care

Living with COPD: Things You Should Know

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the collective term for multiple lung diseases that prevent you from breathing normally. COPD can affect various aspects of your daily life, and you may face severe consequences without proper treatment. According to WHO, COPD is the world's third leading cause of death rates, with 3.23 million fatalities in 2019.

Let's learn more about living with COPD and everything entailing it.

What Is COPD?

COPD is a group of progressive diseases that affect your lungs and your ability to breathe. It comprises of one or more of three separate illnesses that may include:

  • Emphysema, which damages air sacs in your lungs
  • Chronic bronchitis, which is inflammation of the tubes that bring air to your lungs
  • Chronic obstructive asthma

COPD is a common condition that primarily affects middle-aged or older individuals. In many cases, people remain unaware and live with it.

How Does COPD Affect the Respiratory System?

COPD is an inflammatory condition that severely affects your lungs. When you have COPD, less air flows through the airways. This may occur due to the following reasons:

  • Your lungs' airways and tiny air sacs lose their ability to expand and contract.
  • The walls between many of the air sacs in your lungs are destroyed.
  • Your airway walls grow thick and inflamed.
  • Your airways produce an unusual amount of mucus, which can clog and impede airflow.

Signs and Symptoms of COPD

You won't have signs or symptoms in the early stages of COPD until significant lung damage has occurred, and it worsens over time. However, you may notice the following in the early stages of this condition:

  • A persistent cough
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath during and after physical activities
  • Tightness in the chest area

You will have the following symptoms when the condition reaches the latter stages:

  • Blue or gray lips and/or fingernails
  • Having trouble breathing or talking
  • Trouble with mental alertness
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Extremely fast heartbeats
  • Swelling in the feet and ankles

Diagnosis for COPD

If you have chronic COPD symptoms, you should contact your healthcare provider, especially if you are over 40 and have a history of smoking. The doctor will inquire about your symptoms and arrange for a breathing test. The following tests can be performed for COPD diagnosis:

  • Spirometry: This is the most commonly used lung function test and is often regarded as the most accurate tool to detect COPD. This test evaluates how much air you can inhale and exhale.
  • Chest exam: Your doctor will visually evaluate your chest and listen to it using a stethoscope. They will listen for strange sounds, such as wheezing.
  • Chest CT scan: This produces an image of your chest with greater detail. This test is painless, albeit a dye may be injected into a vein in your arm to obtain more detailed pictures of your chest.

Treatment for COPD

There are various treatment options available for COPD. These may include:

  • Inhalers and medications to make breathing easier
  • A specialized regimen of exercise and instruction known as pulmonary rehabilitation
  • Surgery or a lung transplant in more severe cases
  • In-home non-invasive ventilation therapy
  • Corticosteroids to reduce inflammation and swelling of lung tissue
  • Bronchodilator medication is used to open the airways.

Easy-to-Follow Tips for Living with COPD

You can live with COPD by following these tips:

  • Quit smoking
  • Avoid air pollution
  • Follow a healthy eating plan with smaller, more frequent meals
  • Incorporate vitamins and nutrients into your diet
  • Exercise regularly, including breathing exercises

When to See a Doctor?

You should immediately contact your doctor if you notice the following:

  • Trouble breathing, especially when it gets worse over time.
  • A cough that won't go away, even if it doesn't seem serious.
  • Lots of mucus (phlegm) comes up when you cough, especially if it's discolored.
  • Feeling tired all the time, even after resting.
  • Wheezing, which is a whistling sound when you breathe.

Get Effective Treatment for COPD at MI Express Urgent Care

Don't let COPD affect your life! Act now and seek medical care before your condition worsens. At MI Express Urgent Care, we provide comprehensive treatment for these conditions. Our team of expert doctors provides complete help that fulfills your health needs. Contact us today for a quick consultation.


1. Can I live a normal life with COPD?

Yes, you can live with COPD without much trouble, as it isn't fatal.

2. Can a person with COPD get better?

Better disease management can slow the disease's progression, relieve symptoms, and keep you out of hospital.

3. What is the best way to live with COPD?

You need to make various lifestyle changes if you wish to stay healthy with COPD. Firstly, you need to quit smoking. Additionally, you need to follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly.

4. What do COPD patients struggle with?

COPD can lead to limited physical activity, poor sleep, and increased stress and sadness, all of which contribute to symptom overload.

5. What's the worst thing for COPD?

Inhaling dust, chemical gases, vapors, and fumes can exacerbate this condition significantly.

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