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Respiratory Resource Center

What is COPD and Why is There No Cure?

Sep 6, 2020 4:27:03 PM / by Ana Eyssimont

 

COPD is an umbrella term for a group of lung diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the most common conditions that contribute to COPD. Despite how wide spread the disease is and the invasive nature of its effects on people, little is known about a cure. That being said, there are many treatments that work to fight off symptoms so you can lead an active and health lifestyle.

In this article we will convey what COPD is and how if effects people, and why there is no cure. We will also discuss, that while there is no cure, how oxygen therapy has been proven to give people with COPD longer

 

Living with COPD is progressive, and the damage to the lungs from COPD cannot be reversed or cured, only slowed down. COPD patients experience symptoms which include shortness of breath, wheezing, or a chronic cough.  If you experience any of these symptoms regularly you should see you doctor and asked to be tested for COPD. 

 

 

Testing and treatment 

 

Your doctor will most likely preform spirometry test, because it is the most effective and common method for diagnosing COPD. It’s also known as a pulmonary function test. It is an easy, painless test measures lung function and capacity, so they is no reason to avoid the test. Knowing you have COPD can be a life changing diagnosis, in a good way! 

 

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Once you have been diagnosis, your doctor will work with you to set up a treatment plan, that is right for your lifestyle, and fits your oxygen needs. This includes the types of medications you needs both daily and in the case of an emergency. oxygen therapy if you qualify for it, along with other lifestyle changes. 

 

Medication like rescue inhalers and inhaled or oral steroids can help control symptoms and minimize further damage. Oxygen therapy is utilized when COPD patients have hypoxia, meaning they have low blood oxygen saturation levels. Some people need oxygen at different rates, and COPD patients also need oxygen at different times, either during the day, night, during exercise, or 24/7.

 

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COPD causes

 

The main cause of COPD in the United States is tobacco smoking but there are other factors that would contribute to a person developing COPD, for example, people with asthma will often develop COPD, people who are exposed to pollutants and certain chemicals for long periods of time, and genetics.

 

Today, it is estimated that chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) affects more than 600 million people worldwide. Furthermore, COPD is predicted to become the third leading cause of death by 2020. It should be clear that COPD is a global problem, and one that affects many of us or someone we know. Although there are many forms of treatment available for COPD, with the high prevalence of COPD around the world, the first question for those who suffer from COPD is typically, “why is there a cure?”.

 

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Here is the science

 

A cure is typically defined as a substance or procedure that ends a medical condition such as a medication, a surgical operation, a change in lifestyle, or even a philosophical mindset, all of which can be defined as a cure. So a “cure” isa treatment's ability to end a medical health condition, and while there are “treatments for COPD, they do not end the condition.

 

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For example, a notable cure could be antibiotics used to treat a bacterial infection or a heart transplant to cure heart failure. However, in the case of COPD where lung tissues are beginning to break down within the lungs (emphysema), a way to stop this degeneration and fix the damage has yet to be found.

 

We hear a lot about how COPD is connected to smoking and lung irritants, however the development of COPD isn’t always a result of smoking and can sometimes even be genetic.

 

Even though that may be the case, your body will often respond to smoke and other irritants in the air with an inflammatory response and the lungs will subsequently develop COPD. COPD can be a result of inflammation because as your body’s immune system goes to work this means white blood cells rush into the area of your lungs where there is irritation, this leads to the destruction of the connective tissue in your lungs. A process known as emphysema.

 

Emphysema obstructs airflow and causes poor oxygen absorption and release of respiratory gasses, so your body is no longer able to exchange gases like it once had. If you continue to smoke, airways in your lungs continue to be inflamed, they begin to narrow and exhibit scarring. Soon, you will be incapable of breathing out fully.

 

All of this information about COPD can seem overwhelming, but we are here to help you get over the hopelessness feeling and begin on the path to living a longer higher-quality life.

 

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No cure does not mean you should give up 

 

The first thing you should do, is find a treatment that addresses your disease head-on, this can be done by communicating with your doctor because every case of COPD is different. Therefore, your treatment might look differently than someone else you know with COPD, or people's stories you read online

 

Your doctor will likely tell you to change your diet and consistently exercise because these are among the best lifestyle changes one can do aside from quitting smoking.

 

However, if you’re COPD already deters you from exercising and your oxygen levels are already so low that you cannot even consider walking around anymore than you already do, it is time to deal with COPD directly, and it may be time to move on to the second step, and consider oxygen therapy.

 

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Supplemental Oxygen Therapy

 

When dealing with a disease like COPD, the challenges and obstacles are seemingly endless. Your oxygen supply should be the simplest and most reliable aspect of your day. This means that if you feel stationary or lack enthusiasm in aspects of your life you once enjoyed, you are probably not using the best form of oxygen therapy for your lifestyle.  

 

There are multiple options when it comes to choosing an oxygen device, for instance, you can rely on a liquid oxygen tank or a compressed oxygen canister, or a portable oxygen concentrator.  

 


The most modern and affordable option is an oxygen concentrator, and it is also the simplest and most reliable option. In order to find the right oxygen device for your lifestyle, there are a few things you cannot skimp out on! 

 

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For example: 

 

If you enjoy long walks outdoors, you needs a portable oxygen concentrator that has long lasting battery life, like that Inogen One G5. This device, only weighs 4.7 pounds and it can last up to 13 hours on a pulse flow setting 2. So  not only will you be able to walk around without having to worry about running out of oxygen, you will also have the physical capability to bring it with you anywhere you go because it is so light weight and easily portable. 

 

So, this is one simple example of matching your oxygen device to you everyday activities along with your oxygen requirements. 

 

So before you decided on any oxygen device, it is important to speak with someone who can match you with the best device, like a cupid but for oxygen! Because there are so many options when it comes to choosing a portable oxygen concentrator, it can be hard to even narrow it down to a few options. 

 

You can start by filling out the blue box to the right of your screen, from there, you can call 1-800-946-1201, so that you can convey you desires to a respiratory specialist who will be capable of matching you with the right breathing device.  

 

One of the best ways to deal with COPD is addressing all of your wants and needs before you purchase an oxygen device to ensure your daily life is filled with the things you still love to do rather than worrying about your oxygen supply.

 

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Oxygen therapy is not a cure for COPD, but it one of the only known treatments that has been proven to extend the life expectancy in people with hypoxia (low blood-saturation levels). One of the best ways to deal with COPD is finding a way to live your life to the fullest, just because there is no cure does not mean you don't have life left to live!

 

In a study directed by the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, research found that when people with COPD who receive long-term oxygen therapy without meeting prescription criteria  had reduced survival. This means that you must be prescribed oxygen by your doctor, and you should never administer oxygen to yourself without the proper medical equipment and prescription.

 

You should also be sure to buy your oxygen concentrator from a licensed distributer. LPT Medical is one of the most trusted names in the world of oxygen therapy products offering home oxygen concentrators, portable oxygen concentrators, CPAP and BiPAP machines, and all the accessories you need to make the most of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Topics: portable oxygen concentrator, G5 oxygen concentrators, oxygen therapy, wellness goals, COPD education, COPD management, wellness for seniors

Ana Eyssimont

Written by Ana Eyssimont