19 May Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: Managing COPD with the Help of a Concierge Doctor
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic disease that causes the lungs to become inflamed, which makes it difficult to breathe. Common symptoms are cough, mucus production, wheezing, and breathing complications. COPD is most common in people who smoke cigarettes, increasing your risk of developing other conditions like heart disease and lung cancer.
COPD has no cure and worsens over time, but treatment can be beneficial in various ways. Effective management of COPD can increase the quality of life and decrease symptoms and risk for other conditions.
Medications for COPD
There are a variety of medications to help treat COPD. Many of these COPD medications are taken regularly, with others taken only as needed.
Types of COPD medications include:
- Bronchodilators help relax the muscles around your airways, which can help you cough less and breathe easier. These medications come in the form of an inhaler. Short-acting bronchodilators help support the lungs through physical activity, and long-acting bronchodilators are daily supplements to reinforce bronchial health. The type(s) you use will depend on the severity of your COPD.
- Inhaled steroids reduce airway inflammation and are helpful for people who experience frequent worsening of their COPD symptoms.
- Combination inhalers combine one or more bronchodilators and inhaled steroids. If your COPD varies in severity, short courses (e.g., five days) of oral steroids can help keep your COPD from getting worse. However, long-term use of oral steroids may present harsh side effects, which we will discuss later.
- Phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitors may help to relax the airways and decrease airway inflammation in people with severe COPD and symptoms of chronic bronchitis.
- Theophylline can help improve breathing and prevent COPD flare-ups for people who have not responded well to other treatments or cannot afford other treatments. Regular blood tests may be needed while taking this medication to ensure it does not cause side effects.
- Antibiotics can help treat episodes of worsening COPD, but they should not be a means of preventing symptoms. Antibiotics can benefit those with respiratory infections like pneumonia or the flu, which can worsen COPD symptoms.
How a Concierge Doctor can Help with Medication Management
A concierge doctor can help you treat your COPD by prescribing medication and adjusting doses and types to help you achieve optimum results. It is also more convenient to get medication refills from a concierge doctor rather than going to your doctor’s office.
Common Side Effects of COPD Medications
The side effects you may experience vary depending on what kind of COPD medication you take.
Common side effects of inhaled steroids include:
- Oral infections
- Voice hoarseness
Serious side effects of long-term oral steroid use include:
- Increased risk of infection
- Heart palpitations
- Weight gain
Common side effects of phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitors include:
- Weight loss
Dose-related side effects of theophylline include:
- Fast heartbeat
How Oxygen Therapy helps Manage COPD Symptoms
Oxygen therapy delivers oxygen to your lungs through a tank to help you breathe. You may need to use oxygen while doing physical activities, sleeping, or all the time. Oxygen therapy improves the quality of life and is the only therapy that can help you live longer with COPD.
Types of Oxygen Therapy
Oxygen therapy systems can be large and stationary if they are for at home or in a care facility, or they can be small and portable if they are for travel activities. The oxygen itself can come in gas or liquid form.
Types of delivery systems for oxygen therapy include:
One hundred percent oxygen arrives as a gas in a large metal cylinder. A regulator controls the flow of oxygen and starts and stops the flow of the oxygen when you inhale and exhale. These tanks eventually run out of oxygen supply. The gauge will let you know how full the tank is. You will need to have an oxygen supplier replace your tank when it is empty, and you will need to have extra tanks on hand.
Pure oxygen is a freezing liquid in a thermos-style container. When the oxygen is released, it converts into a gas you breathe in. These types of containers are small and portable.
This device takes air from your room and removes nitrogen as it separates and compresses the oxygen. It emits puffs of air that you breathe in. Unlike a compressed gas oxygen tank, an oxygen concentrator will never run out of oxygen.
How a Concierge Doctor can Help with Oxygen Therapy
A concierge doctor will come to your home to administer oxygen therapy or give you oxygen
in a form that you can use.
Breathing exercises for COPD
Breathing exercises are another way to manage COPD symptoms. are another way to manage COPD symptoms.
Types of breathing exercises include:
- Pursed lip breathing involves sharply inhaling through your nose with a closed mouth to the count of two, pursing your lips, and then breathing out slowly.
- Coordinated breathing during exercise involves breathing in through your nose and pursing your lips as you breathe out.
- Deep breathing involves sitting or standing with your elbows slightly back, inhaling a deep breath, holding your breath, and then exhaling slowly through your nose.
- Huff coughing involves inhaling slightly deeper than usual and then exhaling in three even breaths.
- Diaphragmatic breathing involves putting one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach, breathing to feel your stomach move forward, and then breathing out slowly while lightly pressing on your stomach.
Benefits of Breathing Exercises
Benefits of breathing exercises include:
- Promotes relaxation
- Minimizes shortness of breath
- Reducing breathing difficulties
- Releasing air trapped in your lungs
- Helping you cough up mucus without getting tired
- Breathing deeper through your diaphragm instead of your neck, shoulders, and back
How a Concierge Doctor can Help with Breathing Exercises
A concierge doctor can recommend different breathing exercises for you to try. They can also guide you through these exercises and monitor your progress.
Working with a concierge doctor for COPD management has several benefits. A concierge doctor can help you manage COPD symptoms by prescribing medications, oxygen therapies, and breathing exercises. They can give all the same care as a doctor’s office but in the comfort of your home.
Concierge physicians can offer you more time and attention than going to a doctor’s office. They also make accessing medical care more straightforward and convenient because they come to your home. Communicating with a concierge doctor is also more detailed because of the time and attention they can devote to their patients.
Contact us today to help you manage your COPD at home.
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