COPD

Jason Edward Peters, MD, PA

Family Medicine located in Harlingen, TX

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a group of chronic respiratory conditions that affect more than 15 million Americans. Without early intervention and treatment, COPD increases the risk of potentially serious respiratory problems. At the practice of Jason Edward Peters, MD, PA, family medicine physician Jason Peters, MD, and Victor Gonzalez, PA-C, provide all-inclusive care for COPD. To make an appointment at the practice in Harlingen, Texas, call the office today or click the online booking feature.

COPD Q & A

What is COPD?

COPD is a group of respiratory ailments that get progressively worse. Some of the most common conditions categorized as COPD include:

Emphysema

Emphysema is a disease that damages the air sacs in your lungs. As the condition worsens, it interferes with your ability to breathe.

Chronic bronchitis

Chronic bronchitis causes your bronchial tubes to become narrow and inflamed. When combined, these factors cause mucus to build up in your airways, resulting in coughing, wheezing, and chest pain.

What are the symptoms of COPD?

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness
  • Wheezing
  • Respiratory infections
  • Lack of energy
  • Swelling in your lower extremities

In the later stages of COPD, you might also experience unexplained weight loss or develop a chronic cough.

When should I see a doctor about COPD?

If you experience difficulty breathing and it lasts for more than a week, make an appointment at Jason Edward Peters, MD, PA. That’s especially true if you develop a fever or cough up mucus that’s green or yellow. 

Who is at risk of COPD?

Anyone can experience COPD, but several factors increase your risk, including:

  • Smoking
  • Having asthma
  • Exposure to dust and chemicals
  • Exposure to fumes from burning fuel

You’re also more likely to experience COPD if the condition runs in your family. For example, some smokers have a gene that makes them more susceptible to the illness.

How is COPD diagnosed?

To diagnose COPD, your Jason Edward Peters, MD, PA, provider reviews your medical and family history and asks about your lifestyle, including if you smoke or have been exposed to chemical fumes or other irritants.

Next, your provider orders several tests, including chest X-rays, a CT scan, and lung function tests. X-rays can diagnose emphysema while a CT scan can diagnose lung cancer. Lung function tests assess the health and condition of your lungs.

How is COPD treated?

Treatment of COPD usually includes a combination of healthy lifestyle changes and prescription medication. The most important step in treating COPD is quitting smoking. Doing so prevents the condition from getting worse and helps preserve your lungs.

Some of the most common medications used to treat COPD include bronchodilators, inhaled steroids, oral steroids, and combination inhalers.

To learn more about the treatment options for COPD, make an appointment at the practice of Jason Edward Peters, MD, PA, by calling the office or scheduling online today.