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Copd (chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung disease that makes it hard for you to breathe. It is usually a result of lung damage caused by years of irritation and inflammation in your lungs. COPD is a serious condition that gets worse over time. There is no cure, but there are things you can do to feel better and prevent exacerbations. A COPD exacerbation is when your symptoms suddenly get worse. It is important to prevent exacerbations because they cause more lung damage.


WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

Medicines:

  • Bronchodilators open your airways so you can breathe easier. They are most often given through an inhaler or nebulizer.
  • Mucolytics thin and loosen the mucus in your lungs so you can cough it out.
  • Steroids help decrease swelling in your airways.
  • Antibiotics help treat or prevent an infection.
  • Blood thinners help prevent blood clots.

Monitoring:

  • Pulse oximetry measures the amount of oxygen in your blood.
  • An EKG test records your heart rhythm and how fast your heart beats.

Tests:

  • Lung function tests show how much air is moving in and out of your lungs.
  • Blood tests check for infection and measure oxygen levels in your blood.
  • A mucus sample is collected in a cup when you cough. The sample is tested for bacteria to find out if you need antibiotic treatment.
  • A chest x-ray is done to check for other lung problems.

Treatment:

  • Pulmonary rehabilitation is a program to help you manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life. It may include nutritional counseling and exercise, such as walking, to strengthen your lungs.
  • Oxygen may help you breathe easier and feel more alert. You may receive oxygen through a ventilator or a CPAP machine.

RISKS:

COPD raises your risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Without treatment, COPD can become life-threatening.

CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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