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Save Your Breath, America!

Prevent Emphysema Now!

Introduction-Save Your Breath America!

What is COPD?

Emphysema

Early Detection

Treatment

Devices:
Metered Dose Inhaler (MDI)
Dry Powder Discus
Aerosolizer

New Developments

The Future

Additional Reading / Web Sites

The New Era / Sponsors

 
 
 


Treatment

What can you do if you have an early stage of asthmatic bronchitis, chronic bronchitis, or emphysema? Certainly you should change any behavior that can make it worse. The single most important thing you can do for yourself is to stop smoking. In fact, if you don’t stop smoking, none of your other efforts will be as effective as they could be, and your COPD will get worse.

Smoking Cessation

Stopping smoking is a complex matter. If you decide that you want to quit, no matter what, you will succeed. People with COPD and emphysema are often very addicted to the nicotine in tobacco. Nicotine replacement products are available to help deal with the uncomfortable symptoms of nicotine withdrawal that many patients experience when they try to quit smoking. Nicotine gum, nicotine patches, and nicotine lozenges are available at drug stores without a prescription. Nicotine nasal spray and nicotine vapor inhalers that work like a cigarette are available by prescription. An antidepressant drug called bupropion (ZybanŽ), can help you stop smoking.

You must decide to quit and pick a specific quit date. Quit completely all at once (“cold turkey”). Start nicotine replacement on your quit date. If your doctor prescribes ZybanŽ, it should be started two weeks before your quit date. ZybanŽ can be used along with nicotine replacement.

If you fail, wait a week or so. Don’t get discouraged. Try again. Many heavily addicted smokers succeed after several attempts to quit smoking. Quitting is the most important thing you can do for your health and for the prevention of emphysema. In addition, you will decrease your risk for having a heart attack, a stroke, or developing lung cancer.

Breathing CLean Air

As a COPD patient, you need clean air. Therefore, you should also avoid being around smokers and fume-laden air. During days of fog or smog, try to stay indoors with windows closed. If possible, fumeless appliances should be used for heating.

Polluted air also can irritate your breathing passages. Try not to go out when the air quality is rated poor. But if you cannot avoid excessive air pollution, protecting your mouth and nose with a mask may improve your breathing.
You should see your doctor on a regular basis to have a physical and to have your lungs checked with spirometry, especially if you have a chest cold or any time you cough up excess mucus. It is also important to guard against catching the flu by getting an influenza vaccine each fall, well before winter starts. A pneumonia vaccine should also be given to anyone over age 50, and to all persons with COPD.

You should see your doctor on a regular basis to have a physical and to have your lungs checked with spirometry, especially if you have a chest cold or any time you cough up excess mucus. It is also important to guard against catching the flu by getting an influenza vaccine each fall, well before winter starts. A pneumonia vaccine should also be given to anyone over age 50, and to all persons with COPD.

There are many different types of treatments that can help you cope with a chronic lung disease and live your life to the fullest.

Clearing Your Lungs

Coughing has an important “cleaning action” and is something you should do every morning and evening. You must learn to cough in such a way that you can clear your lungs of excess mucus with two or three coughs. There are many ways to do this. Your doctor will teach you the way to cough that is best for your particular problem or he/she may refer you to a respiratory therapist who can help you.

As an aid to this cleaning, your doctor might recommend breathing moist or humid air, and drinking plenty of fluids every day. This helps to thin out the mucus so that you can cough it up more easily.

Your doctor might also recommend inhaled bronchodilating drugs or antiinflammatory drugs that open your airways and help increase the normal flow of mucus out of your lungs. A respiratory therapist can help you learn how to use the devices that deliver these medications.

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