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COPD Specialist

Respiratory, Critical Care, and Sleep Specialists

Pulmonology & Critical Care located in Des Plaines, IL & Portage Park, Chicago, IL

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) affects about 16 million Americans and is the fourth-leading cause of death in the United States. The expert pulmonologists at Respiratory, Critical Care, and Sleep Specialists treat COPD at three clinics in the Portage Park neighborhood of Chicago, Des Plaines, and Oak Park, Illinois. If you think you have COPD, call or book an appointment online today.

COPD Q & A

What is COPD?

Also known as chronic obstructive lung disease, chronic obstructive airway disease, chronic bronchitis or emphysema, COPD is a chronic disease that makes it difficult to breathe. COPD is progressive, which means it worsens over time, and it’s incurable. However, the team at Respiratory Critical Care and Sleep Specialists offers treatments to help you manage COPD symptoms and breathe more easily.

What causes COPD?

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of COPD in the United States. Smoking tobacco in the form of cigars and pipes can also lead to COPD if you inhale the smoke. Most people with COPD are smokers or smoked at one time. 

However, as many as 25% of people with COPD have never smoked. Other lung irritants, such as air pollution, dust, and chemical fumes, may also cause COPD.

How do I know if I have COPD?

Symptoms of COPD usually don’t appear until your lungs experience a significant amount of damage. When symptoms do appear, they typically start out mild and grow more severe. Common signs and symptoms of COPD include:

  • A persistent cough that may produce mucus (sputum)
  • Shortness of breath, especially during activity
  • Chest tightness
  • Wheezing

You may experience periods of worsened symptoms called exacerbations. COPD may also increase your risk of developing respiratory infections, including the flu and pneumonia. 

How is COPD diagnosed and treated?

COPD is commonly misdiagnosed, but the team at Respiratory Critical Care and Sleep Specialists has expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of this condition. After they review your medical history and perform a physical exam, your provider may take one or more of the following tests to diagnose COPD:

  • Spirometry to measure lung function
  • Chest X-ray
  • Chest computerized tomography (CT) scan
  • Blood tests to measure the oxygen level

Then, they develop a personalized treatment plan to manage your COPD. Depending on your needs, treatment may include:

  • Lifestyle changes like quitting smoking
  • Medications like bronchodilators and/or inhaled steroids
  • Vaccines to prevent the flu and pneumonia 
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation
  • Oxygen therapy

If you have severe COPD symptoms that don’t improve with treatment, they may recommend surgery.

To learn how you can manage COPD and live a healthier, happier life, call Respiratory Critical Care and Sleep Specialists or book an appointment online today.