Pulmonary and Sleep Specialists in Michigan

COPD Doctor in Michigan

COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) Diagnosis Symptoms and Treatments

What is COPD?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic lung disease that causes difficulties in breathing by obstructing airflow in the lungs. It is a progressive disease that can worsen over time and is often caused by smoking or exposure to air pollution. Symptoms of COPD include shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, and chest tightness. While there is no cure, treatments such as medications, oxygen therapy, and pulmonary rehabilitation can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. COPD includes two main conditions: chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

How is COPD diagnosed?

Spirometry is one of the primary methods for diagnosing COPD. For this, the physician will conduct ask the patient to blow through a tube and measure the results. The diagnosis for the condition is based on the degree of airflow limitation in a patient’s lungs during this Spirometry test.

Other factors such as a patient’s previous or current smoking history and habits are also factored in during this initial diagnosis.

A comprehensive clinical diagnosis is usually made through a combination of medical history, physical examination, lung function tests, and in some cases, imaging tests such as chest X-rays or CT scans may be recommended.

While Bronchoscopy is not a primary method for the diagnosis of COPD, it may be used to rule out other conditions that may have similar symptoms to it, such as lung cancer or infections.

Genetic testing via cheek swab is also available to determine if a person has a genetic predisposition to the disease. Call us to learn more about genetic testing for COPD.

Dr. Asker Asmi, MD is a certified pulmonologist, and sleep disorders doctor in Michigan

Social Links:
Dr. Asmi’s Beaumont Hospital Page
Dr. Asmi’s Henry Ford Profile Page

Dr. Asmi is a Pulmonologist and sleep specialist based in Michigan that specializes in advanced COPD. He follows a multidisciplinary treatment plan that includes nutrition, medicine, lifestyle changes, damage prevention and active treatment with close follow up. Doctor Asmi’s expertise include Critical Care Medicine, Pulmonary Medicine, Pulmonary Critical Care and Sleep Medicine. Dr. Asmi is also affiliated with Beaumont Hospital and runs a private practice in Riverview, MI.

What are the symptoms of COPD?

The symptoms of COPD typically include following:

• Frequent coughing or wheezing.
• Excess phlegm or sputum.
• Shortness of breath.
• Trouble taking a deep breath.
• Chest tightness.
• Wheezing.
• A chronic cough that may produce mucus (sputum) that may be clear, white, yellow, or greenish.
• Frequent respiratory infections.
• Lack of energy.
• Unintended weight loss (in later stages).

COPD symptoms usually become noticeable only after significant lung damage has occurred, and they tend to worsen over time, especially if the person continues to smoke. Early symptoms may start mildly with intermittent coughing and shortness of breath. As the disease progresses, the symptoms become more severe and persistent, including chronic cough and shortness of breath.

People with COPD  are also likely to experience episodes called exacerbations, during which their symptoms become worse than the usual day-to-day variation and persist for at least several days.

What can cause COPD?

There are multiple factors that can lead to a COPD diagnosis. Smoking early in life or secondhand smoke exposure can be a leading cause. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), secondhand smoke exposure during childhood and teenage years can slow lung growth and development, which can increase the risk of developing COPD in adulthood. The American Lung Association explicitly states that exposure to lung irritants like tobacco smoke can in fact damage the lungs and airways, leading to COPD.

Although smoking is the primary cause of COPD in the United States, exposure to air pollution, including secondhand smoke, chemical fumes, and industrial dusts, can also contribute to its development. In other parts of the world, COPD has been shown to often be caused by exposure to fumes from burning fuel for cooking and heating in poorly ventilated homes. Many Americans with COPD have never smoked but may have had long-term exposure to air pollutants fumes and chemicals (occupational exposure) without their knowledge. It’s important to note that genetics can also play a role in the development of COPD.

What are the best treatments for COPD?

Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms and helping patients breathe better.

Bronchodilators are used for people with COPD. Bronchodilators are medicines that make breathing easier by relaxing and widening the muscles around the airways. They can help reduce shortness of breath and help relieve coughing. The two types of Bronchodialators are short-acting, which are used before activities and long-term, that are designed to be used daily.

Inhaled steroids and antibiotics can also reduce inflammation and help manage symptoms.

Antibiotics may be used in cases where COPD patients are dealing with additional respiratory infections, such as pneumonia or bronchitis.

Lung therapies including oxygen therapy, and lung rehabilitation are additional treatment methodologies for people with moderate to severe disease.

Other treatments are also available however treatment is individualized and combines treatment, prevention as well as lifestyle improvement per patient, based on their individual needs. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best treatment plan for an individual's specific needs.

How can I prevent COPD?

Making the right lifestyle changes can improve your outcome. Since smoking is the leading cause, cessation at an early stage of the disease can improve prognosis for the condition. It is important to remember that quitting smoking and avoiding exposure to air pollution are the best ways to prevent COPD.

Is COPD curable?

Unfortunately there is no cure for COPD, however there are several ways to help you manage and treat it. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms such as shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing, it is important to seek medical attention and get a proper diagnosis. Early detection and treatment can help manage the symptoms and slow the progression of the disease.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What are the 4 stages of COPD?

The four stages of COPD are Stage 1 (Mild), Stage 2 (Moderate), Stage 3 (Severe) and Stage 4 (Very Severe). In stage 1 you may not have any symptoms but may experience some shortness of breath when walking fast or climbing an inclined surface. In stage 2 you might need to stop to catch your breath, even on level ground. In stage 3 you may be have trouble doing simple tasks such as getting dressed and may be unable to leave your home. In stage 4 patients may find it difficult to catch their breath, even when they are resting.

What is considered end-stage COPD?

Stage 4 (Very Severe) COPD could be considered end-stage with a high risk of heart and lung failure.

When is COPD life threatening?

COPD can be life threatening in the end-stage (or stage 4) of the disease.

Can you postpone advanced stage COPD?

While there is no cure for Stage 4 (Very Severe) advanced stage COPD and no way to reverse the damage, measures can still be taken to manage the symptoms and prevent further lung damage. It’s important to work with a healthcare specialist to develop an individualized treatment plan.

What is the best treatment for COPD?

The best treatment depends on the individual’s specific condition, needs. However, some common treatments include bronchodilator inhalers, medications, oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation and social support.

What is the most common cause of death in COPD?

Respiratory failure is the primary common cause of death in stage 4 (Very Severe) advanced COPD. Other causes include heart failure, pulmonary infection, pulmonary embolism and lung cancer.

Can COPD be reversed?

Unfortunately COPD is a progressive condition which means that there is no cure, but there are many things that can be done to mitigate the symptoms of COPD and improve the quality of a patient’s life.

What is life expectancy with COPD?

A COPD patient’s life expectancy will wary depending on the severity of their condition.

Are COPD and Asthma the same thing?

No, COPD and asthma are not the same thing. It’s possible to have the symptoms of both but they are not the same. Asthma is a respiratory condition that causes the narrowing of the airways and may or may not be associated with smoking, while COPD is a collection of lung diseases and is almost always associated with a history of smoking and is a chronic lung condition that causes inflammation and narrowing.

Are COPD and emphysema the same thing?

No, COPD is not emphysema. The two are not the same thing. Emphysema is a lung condition that damages the air sacs in the lungs while COPD is a group of lung diseases that includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Emphysema is just one of the types of lung damage that can occur in a COPD patient.

What are the top COPD medications?

The most common medications used to treat COPD include bronchodilators, steroids, and antibiotics. Bronchodilators are the most commonly used.

Which COPD inhalers are covered by medicare?

Medicare will typically cover Metered-dose inhalers (MDIs) & Dry powder inhalers (DPIs) for COPD however the specific inhaler that is covered by Medicare may depend on the individual patient’s plan and coverage.

How far should I walk with COPD?

How far you can walk with COPD will depend on the severity of your condition. It’s important to avoid overexertion but this can only be properly determined through a detailed assessment between you and your physician.

What kind of doctor treats COPD?

A pulmonologist treats COPD.

Will COPD show up on an X-ray?

COPD may show up on an X-ray, but an X-ray alone is not enough to diagnose COPD. A PFT will also be required. Other tests such as CT scans and blood tests may also be included to make a proper diagnosis and to rule out other conditions with similar symptoms.

What are the first signs of COPD?

COPD symptoms usually become noticeable only after significant lung damage has occurred, and they tend to worsen over time, especially if the person continues to smoke. Early symptoms may start mildly with intermittent coughing and shortness of breath. As the disease progresses, the symptoms become more severe and persistent, including chronic cough and shortness of breath.

How to prepare for your appointment?

  • Prior to your appointment, you might want to consider making a list of all the concerns that you might need help with and would like to discuss with your doctor during your appointment.
  • Make thorough notes on the things that seem to make your symptoms worse.
  • Make notes on the things that seem to make your symptoms better.
  • The types of symptoms that you have experienced in the past and the ones that you are currently experiencing.
  • Medications and other treatments that you may already be on.
  • Ask your family members if there has been a history of COPD in your family.