COPD diagnosis and treatment

How is COPD diagnosed?

Your doctor will diagnose COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) based on your symptoms, medical history, a physical examination and a test of how you are breathing, also known as spirometry.1

During spirometry testing, the doctor will ask you to blow into a tube, and the test will record the different measurements of air volume and pressure as you breathe out.

Some doctors may also recommend that you have an X-ray or CT scan, so they can have a closer look at your lungs.In some cases, a blood test may be used to assess the levels of oxygen (O2) and carbon dioxide (CO2)in your blood.

How is COPD treated?

Although there is currently no cure for COPD, there are treatments available to relieve its symptoms and slow down its long-term development.

Recommended treatments may include:

  1. Quitting smoking. If you’re a smoker, the most essential part in preventing your COPD from progressing any further is to quit smoking.2
  2. Medications. These include various inhalers, steroids and antibiotics as needed to help you manage your symptoms, and reduce the frequency and severity of flare ups (also known as acute exacerbations).2
  3. Pulmonary rehabilitation. A program combining exercise with education about your disease  will also help you cope with symptoms, and better manage your COPD.2
  4. Nutritional changes. For some people with COPD, dietary changes can help patients feel better.2
  5. Oxygen therapy. For patients with inadequate levels of oxygen saturation in their blood (a condition known as hypoxia), oxygen therapy can help.2
  6. Non-invasive ventilation.  Adding non-invasive ventilatory support to conventional therapy can reduce breathlessness, and improve respiratory rate and blood gas exchange.2 It can also improve quality of life.5
  7. How can non-invasive ventilation help in COPD treatment?

    Because COPD affects your ability to breathe properly (inhaling enough oxygen and exhaling enough carbon dioxide), you can end up with 2 problems:

    1. Not enough oxygen in your bloodstream (Hypoxia)
    2. Too much carbon dioxide in your bloodstream (Hypercapnia) 

    With increasing evidence supporting the use of non-invasive ventilation, it is becoming a more widely used therapy alongside standard treatments for certain patients. Some of these observed benefits of non-invasive ventilation include shorter hospital stays and readmission rates, reduced need for invasive intubation,4 and improved survival and quality of life.5

    If you have hypercapnic symptoms, such as shortness of breath and morning headaches, you can ask your doctor about non-invasive ventilation.

    ResMed provides non-invasive ventilators that are suitable for people with COPD.

     Learn more about ResMed’s ventilators. 

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Sleep Revitalizes your Mind, Body, & Heart

The body goes under many transformations, while it is in the state of rest during sleep. There are many essential functions that take place in the body such as tissue repair, memory and energy restoration, release of essential hormones, muscle relaxation, and others. While you are asleep, the brain releases indispensable hormones that promote tissue growth. This process helps your body rejuvenate from the daily hustle bustle. Moreover, tissue growth aids in the recovery from wounds or cuts. Sunita Kumar, Co-Director, Centre for Sleep Disorders, Loyola University Medical Centre, aptly remarks that during sleep the body produces more white blood cells, to fight countless bacteria and viruses1. The heart rate also registers a dip during sleep, which according to Ms. Kumar, strengthens the heart as it is at rest with lowered activity. Moreover, a good night’s sleep also reduces the chances of getting afflicted with heart diseases.

Good Sleep = Sharp Memory

Sleep is a time, when becomes sharp and strong. Sleep quantity and quality play a fundamental role in determining what one remembers and what one doesnt. Therefore, development of long-term memory (LTM) from short-term memory (STM) happens during sleep.  Scientific researches state that the brain follows a different mechanism for storing memories through the hippocampus and neo-cortex areas. Hippocampus helps you to remember your life experiences (childhood memories), while the neo-cortex is responsible for remembering the concepts you learn (name of a color). Communications and sync between the two, helps in learning new data and updating old ones.

Sleep Steers Hormonal Hunger

Sleep not only affects your energy levels and mental functions, but also regulates your body weight. Improper sleep is related to the increasing cases of obesity, worldwide2. Many hormones which regulate the feeling of hunger (ghrelin) and signal the feeling of being full (leptin), are all influenced by the quality of your sleep.  Leptin: This is also known as satiety hormone, which is produced by the fat cells of the body. It prevents overeating by sending signals to the brain that the body does not require more food, as there is enough to fuel the body.  Ghrelin: This hunger hormone is produced in the gastrointestinal tract, which signifies the body that there is need for food. This hormone rises in the body, when you feel hungry and decreases when you have consumed some food.  Studies show that people who have disrupted patterns of sleep - have larger appetite, because of higher ghrelin secretion and lowered secretion of leptin. This imbalance in the secretion of these hormones is a result of improper sleep patterns3.

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Reference

1

https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/discomfort-15/better-sleep/healing-power-sleep?page=2

2

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3619301/

3

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3619301/