Announcer: The material contained in this video presentation provides general information on the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This information is for reference purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. For specific information and recommendations based on your health condition, please consult your medical provider.
Jordan Taillon: Hi, my name is Jordan Taillon. I'm a pulmonary and critical care physician who is here to talk to you about COPD. So what is COPD? COPD is a common respiratory disease caused by airflow limitation, which then causes respiratory symptoms. It is most commonly caused by exposure to noxious particles or gases, which most commonly is cigarettes. COPD is characterized by a mixture of small airways disease and parenchymal destruction, which is the portion of the lung, which participates in the transfer of oxygen from the lung into the blood, which then leads to your classic pulmonary symptoms.
On this slide, we will go over some images that shows how COPD affects your body. As you can see in the images, there's a narrowed bronchiole, which is your airflow limitation, and it also shows the destruction of the alveolus, which is the part that contributes to oxygen getting into your blood.
How common is COPD? COPD affects more than 5% of the population. It is the fourth ranked cause of death in the United States. The disease severity usually correlates with the amount and duration of cigarette smoking. However, there are genetic factors.
What exactly are the symptoms of COPD? Dyspnea, which is shortness of breath, and early on in the disease will often be dyspnea on exertion, but can progress to even be dyspnea at rest. A chronic cough, sputum production and, less frequently but can happen, can get wheezing and chest tightness.
How do we diagnose COPD? While symptoms and imaging such as chest x-ray, or CT scan can raise suspicion of a diagnosis of COPD, the only way to officially diagnosed COPD is through a pulmonary function test. A pulmonary function test is a series of exercises and tests, which measure airflow, lung volumes, and how oxygen diffuses into your blood. The test needs to show an obstructive airflow pattern to officially diagnose COPD.
If you have any questions about the images, or testing to diagnose COPD, please contact your primary care physician or pulmonologist. Thank you.