Thursday, September 30, 2010

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is one of the most common lung diseases. It makes it difficult to breathe. In todays 60 Second Housecall, Dr. Edward Hill tells us more about COPD.

Dr. Hill:

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a lung disease that makes it hard for you to breathe. Over time, your lungs become irritated or damaged. Mucus may block the airways. This makes it hard for air to get through. The air sacs in the lungs may become stiff and unable to hold enough air.

COPD is usually caused by smoking. You may be at risk if you have been exposed to fumes, smoke or dust for a long time.

COPD develops slowly, so you could have it for many years before you notice symptoms. The most common symptoms are coughing, wheezing and being short of breath.

There is no cure for COPD. The damage to your airways and lungs cannot be undone. But there are things you can do to feel better and slow the damage. Most importantly, you should quit smoking. Bronchodilators relax the muscle around your airways to help air get through. Steroids help stop the inflammation in your airways.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.