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The Importance of an Early Diagnosis in COPD Patients

Usually irreversible and progressive, a late diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) poses a problem as the disease may be rather advanced before the cause of the patient’s respiratory problems are diagnosed. Access and use of primary care can play a significant role in determining an early diagnosis of COPD.

Begin by identifying possible risk factors. The most prevalent risk factors associated with a COPD diagnoses include:

  • Cigarette smoking

  • Passive smoking

  • Genetics

  • Environmental air pollution

  • Occupational exposures (i.e. coal mine workers)

  • Childhood respiratory illness

  • Recurrent bronchopulmonary infections

  • Chronic asthma

  • Multidisciplinary treatment

  • Smoking cessation

  • Bronchodilators

  • Corticosteroids

  • Long-term oxygen therapy

  • Pulmonary rehabilitation

  • Nutrition

If you are able to catch any of these signs and address them with your primary care doctor, you are more likely to receive an early diagnoses; helping to prevent advancement and exacerbations.

 If you are diagnosed with COPD, it is important to know the severity of the condition. Familiarity with such indicators will help to identify any adverse or worsening symptoms. Knowing the severity will also help to determine which form(s) of treatment are right for you. Following are treatment methods to consider if diagnosed with COPD:

 While each of these has shown to provide various forms of improvement in patients, they may not be right for your specific needs. It is always best to consult your primary care doctor and weigh your options based on your set and severity of symptoms.


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