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Huffing and Puffing – the serious side of COPD

What is COPD?

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a long-term disease of the lungs which causes shortness of breath. In Australia, despite falling death rates, COPD is still a leading cause of death and disease burden after heart disease, stroke and cancer.

Most of the time smoking is the cause of COPD. However, non-smokers can also get COPD. Early diagnosis is super important in order to slow down disease progression.

So what happens in COPD?

Lungs are a spongy network of airways and air sacks. When we breathe in, air moves down the network of air tubes and into the air sacks. In the air sacks is where oxygen moves into the blood and carbon dioxide out.

With COPD, inflammation over time causes permanent damage to the airways and air sacks. The airways become inflamed, swollen and filled with mucus obstructing the flow of air. The air sacks lose their structure and sponginess making it more difficult for oxygen and carbon dioxide to move in and out.

These lung changes cause the key symptoms of COPD: breathlessness, wheeze, cough and phlegm. The symptoms gradually worsen over time making daily activities harder.

How is COPD diagnosed?

Your doctor will organise for you to have a breathing test that measures how hard and fast you can blow out the air from your lungs.

How is COPD treated?

  • Stopping smoking
  • Using inhalers to help reduce inflammation of the lungs
  • Vaccinations to help reduce chest infections

Chest Physiotherapy:

  • Breathing techniques and therapies to help clear phlegm from lungs
  • Exercise programs to improve strength and endurance making daily activities easier

Here at PhysioHealth, we can help COPD patients improve their quality of life by providing physiotherapy and exercise programs to help improve your breathing. We also offer the Better Breathing program which helps improve your breathing muscles strength and endurance. So please let us help you here at PhysioHealth if you are huffing and puffing and not enjoying life.

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