The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that COPD is the THIRD leading cause of death in America. The third. With heart disease and cancer taking the lead. Approximately 15 million U.S. adults are estimated to have COPD. When combining COPD with other health issues, this can be a serious problem in the lives of your patients and loved ones.
COPD is diagnosed in four stages, each of which are characterized by a measure of lung function and measured by the breathing test spirometry. This important test shows how much air your patients’ lungs can hold and how fast they can release the air from the lungs.
Stage one is mild COPD. A spirometry test will show some restriction. A mild cough may be in play.
Stage two is moderate COPD. Air flow begins to worsen at this stage. Your patient may begin to notice a shortness of breath in activities like climbing stairs. A cough may begin increasing and mucus production begins. They often will have prolonged symptoms of the flu or cough. Typically this is the stage patients start to seek treatment.
Stage three is severe COPD. Your patient will become short of breath after very little activity and will quickly become fatigued. Their cough will become more frequent and airflow is severely limited, with times requiring hospitalization.
Stage four is very severe COPD. At this point, quality of life for your patient is greatly impaired and symptoms have become life-threatening. Lung function can be dropped to 30% or less and your patient usually requires oxygen therapy on a daily basis. Complications can arise such as weight loss, fluid build-up in the legs and feet, chronic respiratory failure and heart disease (the number ONE killer of Americans).
Catching COPD early can make all of the difference in your patients’ lives so they can live a longer, happier, and healthy life.
Take the step in caring for your patients and bring spirometry into your practice today. Your patients will be correctly diagnosed so you can treat them more accurately and conveniently in your practice.