some people hear "COPD," they are
not sure what to think. It may be confusing
because Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
(COPD) is not a single disease but an umbrella
term used to describe chronic lung diseases
that can limit your airflow.
COPD includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
Either may compromise lung function.
Chronic bronchitis is inflammation of the
airways that causes increased mucus to be
produced. Bronchitis is considered chronic
if you cough and produce excess mucus most
days for three months in a year, two years
in a row.
Emphysema is a disease that damages the air
sacs and/or the smallest breathing tubes in
Common day-to-day COPD symptoms include a
cough, coughing up mucus or phlegm, difficult
breathing and shortness of breath, wheezing
and chest tightness.
no denying that COPD is a serious disease,
but you don't have to settle for a life defined
by it. You might have to pace yourself differently
day to day, but you can still find joy in
life. This site is full of information that
will help get you started.
understood that emphysema caused damage
to the air sacs but I wondered whether
it changed the genetic code. In other
words, when the cells that make up
those air sacs are replaced with new
ones, are the new cells healthy cells?
Has the genetic code been altered
and the replacement cells are not
just smoker's cough…"
people may think they simply have a "smoker's
cough" or that breathlessness is just
a part of getting older. It may be nothing
serious or it may be an early symptom of
COPD. Either way, it's a good idea to get
these symptoms checked out. By the time
many patients are diagnosed with COPD, they
have lost about half of their lung function.
The earlier COPD is diagnosed, the sooner
you and your doctor can start managing it.
again they speak of "managing"
the disease. No mention of curing the
disease or stopping its progress.
Effects of COPD on Healthy Lungs
airways and air sacs in the lungs are elastic,
like balloons, making it easy for air to move
in and out quickly. COPD can cause the lungs
to thicken and lose their elasticity. Then
the airways can't widen when you need more
air, and thick mucus forms. This typically
causes coughing that produces large amounts
of sticky mucus, wheezing, shortness of breath,
chest tightness, and other symptoms.
for COPD Patients
you have COPD can be incredibly tough, and
there is no cure. But it's far from a helpless
situation. Starting today, you can learn ways
to improve your breathing, stay more active,
and slow the progression of the disease.
(chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is
a term used to describe a disease that interferes
with normal breathing and gets worse slowly
over time. COPD includes chronic bronchitis
and emphysema. Often, people have both.
With chronic bronchitis, your airways become
swollen and tight, making it hard for air
to move in or out of your lungs. More mucus
may form in your airways, making it even more
difficult to breathe. You may notice yourself
clearing your throat repeatedly, or you may
feel like you have a respiratory infection,
except the symptoms do not go away.
emphysema, the walls of the tiny air sacs
in your lungs are damaged, so they can't push
all the used air out of your lungs. This air
remains trapped, so there's less room for
fresh, oxygen-rich air to enter. People do
not get enough oxygen and do not remove as
much carbon dioxide from their blood. You
may notice that you have a hard time exhaling,
and that you have limited energy.
they finally mention that there is no
cure. This I believed until research
revealed that they were ignoring some
very obvious causal evidence. That is,
that smoking introduces a pathogen into
the lungs that continues proliferating
even if the patient quits smoking. I
eventually realized that stopping this
proliferation also stops the disease
important to understand that while there's
currently no cure for COPD, it can be managed.
A combination of smoking cessation, medication,
exercise, and other lifestyle changes can
help manage your COPD. Your primary care doctor
will most likely refer you to a pulmonologist,
who is a specialist who treats lung and respiratory
It's important to get an accurate diagnosis.
The sooner you start managing COPD, the sooner
you may start breathing better. It all starts
with knowing the symptoms of COPD.
Wait it out
If you're still smoking and have the urge
to light up, try waiting 10 minutes. Your
craving may pass in that time.
Let it out
With COPD, you may feel as if you can't exhale
all the air from your lungs. A technique called
pursed-lip breathing can help. Learn more
about COPD breathing exercises.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
Do not use Spiriva® HandiHaler® (tiotropium
bromide inhalation powder) if you are allergic
to tiotropium or ipratropium (e.g., Atrovent®)
or any of the ingredients in SPIRIVA. If your
breathing suddenly worsens, your face, throat,
lips, or tongue swells, you get hives, itching
or rash, stop taking SPIRIVA and seek immediate
SPIRIVA HandiHaler is not a rescue medicine
and should not be used for treating sudden
breathing problems. Do not swallow SPIRIVA
capsules. The contents of the capsule should
only be inhaled through your mouth using the
If you have vision changes or eye pain or
if you have difficulty passing urine or painful
urination, stop taking SPIRIVA and call your
doctor right away.
Tell your doctor if you have glaucoma, problems
passing urine or an enlarged prostate, as
these may worsen with SPIRIVA. Tell your doctor
if you have kidney problems or are allergic
to milk proteins. Ask your doctor if you are
not sure. Also discuss with your doctor all
the medicines you take, including eye drops.
The most common side effect with SPIRIVA is
dry mouth. Others include constipation and
trouble passing urine. For a complete list
of reported side effects, ask your doctor
or pharmacist. Do not let the powder from
the SPIRIVA capsule get into your eyes.
Dizziness and blurred vision may occur with
SPIRIVA. Should you experience these symptoms,
you should use caution when engaging in activities
such as driving a car or operating appliances
or other machines.
Read the Patient Information and the step-by-step
Instructions for Use for SPIRIVA before you
use your inhaler.
SPIRIVA HandiHaler is a prescription medicine
used once each day (a maintenance medicine)
to control symptoms of chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease (COPD) by relaxing your
airways and keeping them open. COPD includes
chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or both.
SPIRIVA HandiHaler also reduces the likelihood
of flare-ups and worsening of COPD symptoms
The information provided on this site is for
general information and educational purposes
only. You should always consult a doctor for
diagnosing and treating a health or fitness
problem, and before using any drug product
discussed on this site.
You are encouraged to report negative side
effects of prescription drugs to the FDA.
Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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