Breathing is fundamental to life and essential to your survival as well as function. With every breath you take, your body takes in the oxygen needed to support life processes and rid itself of carbon dioxide.
What is COPD?
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, better known as COPD, refers to a group of diseases, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis that make it hard to breathe. Although more than sixteen million people across the country have gotten diagnosed with the disease, millions more with respiratory issues remain unaware they have the disease.
While the incidence of COPD is on the rise, many people know little about the disease and what can be done to prevent and treat it. At the office of North Jersey Pulmonary Associates, our goal is to preserve and protect respiratory health while giving patients the education and resources they need to breathe easier and maintain wellness.
Normal respiration vs. what happens if you have COPD
To understand COPD, it’s essential to know how normal breathing works. Most simply put, inhaled air travels down your windpipe to your bronchial tubes and into your lungs. From there, the air enters the alveoli (air sacs), where the oxygen your body needs to function gets passed into the bloodstream. Then, with every exhalation, we breathe out and rid our bodies of unnecessary carbon dioxide. And, just like oxygen, but in the reverse direction, carbon dioxide gets transferred from the blood to the lungs.
With COPD, inflammation and thickening damage the airways, destroying the tissue where the regular exchange of oxygen and CO2 occurs. As the airflow to your lungs decreases, less vital oxygen enters the bloodstream. It also gets harder to remove CO2.
Signs and symptoms of COPD may include:
If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, it’s essential to contact our office for an evaluation and care. A word to the wise; your risk for COPD may be higher if you currently smoke, have a history of smoking, exposure to secondhand smoke, environmental pollutants, and toxins, or have family members with the disease.
The key is early diagnosis and care.
Despite the fact there is no cure, COPD is preventable and treatable in its early stages. Today, medications, oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation, complementary and supportive care are available to help individuals effectively manage their conditions. At North Jersey Pulmonary Associates, we provide the advanced diagnostics and care individuals with COPD need to breathe easier and experience fewer flare-ups or exacerbations while enjoying a fuller quality of life.
By North Jersey Pulmonary Associates
March 7, 2022