Visiting your physician when you have a skin rash or a bacterial infection that can only be treated by using antibiotics are more “one and done” medical care needs, but what if you have a chronic condition, like diabetes, a skin disorder like acne, or a very common one, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD)?
COPD unquestionably affects your quality of life, and you may experience quite a few symptoms. But how do you get relief?
As an accomplished General Practitioner (GP), Dr. Shamala Mohanasundaram — Dr. Shamala, as her patients call her — values establishing long-term, rich relationships with her patients who live with chronic conditions. She’s dedicated to providing the most advanced treatments for your COPD, and truly partnering with you in your care at her private practice in Los Gatos, California.
What is chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD)?
COPD is an inflammatory lung condition that blocks airflow from your lungs. Difficulty breathing can be one of the most frightening feelings in the world. If you suffer with chronic bronchitis or emphysema, these two conditions also contribute to developing COPD.
Many people who are stricken with COPD are past or current smokers, have a history of asthma, or may have been exposed in the workplace to dust, chemicals, and fumes.
COPD is progressive, meaning it worsens as time goes by, but there are treatments available, and it’s best to align yourself with a doctor who knows about the latest treatments for COPD.
COPD symptoms and treatments
We’ve compiled a list of five common COPD symptoms and, very importantly, effective treatments for them:
1. Shortness of breath
Unfortunately, breathlessness is typical for many people if they exert themselves excessively, like engaging in a strenuous physical activity such as running or cycling. With COPD, however, you feel out of breath very easily, even when you don’t exert yourself much or you perform very easy activities.
An effective treatment that many sufferers swear by is the use of short-acting bronchodilators. You take these medications via an inhaler, and they provide relief for 4-6 hours. But remember, you should only take them if you have symptoms or are about to exercise.
2. Low blood oxygen levels
COPD can cause dangerously low blood oxygen levels, which causes scary symptoms like shortness of breath, headache, and even disorientation.
The body usually regulates blood oxygen levels, which reflect the amount of oxygen your blood cells carry. Oxygen therapy can relieve symptoms. You can use a portable oxygen tank or a more extensive home system that supplies you with a continuous stream of oxygen, delivered via nose prongs or a mask.
3. Phlegm and mucus production
Phlegm and mucus levels rise with COPD, and they can make you cough.
You can get these problems under control by using decongestants, which halt the production of mucus, and expectorants, like Mucinex. The medication infuses your mucus with greater water content so it’s easier for your body to expel it. These products also take excess mucus out of your respiratory tract.
4. Coughing and wheezing
These common COPD symptoms can be eased by several things, including short and long-acting inhaled beta-agonists like albuterol. These medications expand your airways and fill them with more oxygen. Long-acting bronchodilator treatments are also often effective when you take an inhaled corticosteroid at the same time.
5. Chest tightness
This COPD symptom can make it feel like someone is sitting on your chest — or placing a boulder on it!
Various things can cause this tightness, including infection or an airway obstruction. Antibiotics treat the former, while medications, certain breathing techniques, or a pulmonary rehabilitation program can relieve the latter.
Continuous monitoring of COPD — or any chronic condition — is critical to gaining relief from symptoms and maintaining a good quality of life. Dr. Shamala is invested in giving you the most advanced medical care based on your symptoms and the severity of your COPD, providing you with lifestyle guidance, and giving you emotional support and tips on home care.
Don’t delay pursuing treatment for your COPD. Getting it under control is critical if you want to live fully again.
Call or send a message to our office to schedule an appointment and start a long-term relationship with us.