COPD: Just the FAQs

What is COPD?

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a progressive lung disease that most commonly includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. While emphysema and bronchitis work differently — emphysema destroys the lungs’ air sacs, and bronchitis causes inflammation of bronchial tubes — what they, and other COPD diseases, have in common is the general increase in difficulty breathing. As many as 30 million people in America have COPD, but only 50% of them have been diagnosed with the disease.

What Are the Symptoms of COPD?

COPD is a progressive disease, with symptoms varying according to the stage of the disease.

Early-stage COPD symptoms include:

  • shortness of breath, particularly after exertion
  • a mild, recurrent cough
  • a frequent need to clear one’s throat, particularly in the morning

Mid-stage COPD symptoms include:

  • shortness of breath, even after mild exertion, such as walking
  • chest tightness
  • chronic cough
  • frequent respiratory infections
  • wheezing
  • fatigue

Late-stage COPD symptoms include:

  • weight loss, caused by the exertion of breathing
  • swollen legs, ankles, or feet

Since these symptoms can often be ascribed to other causes, many people with COPD do not realize they have the disease — until it becomes a medical emergency. Emergency treatment is needed if any of the following symptoms are present:

  • a blue-ish cast to the skin, particularly in the fingertips or lips
  • difficulty breathing
  • difficulty catching one’s breath
  • feeling lightheaded and confused
  • feeling that one’s heart is racing

What Causes COPD?

In developed countries, 90% of people with COPD are either smokers or former smokers. According to the COPD Foundation, between 20 and 30% of long-term smokers will develop COPD. In the developing world, COPD is also associated with poor ventilation in homes. Fumes from fuels used for heating and cooking are the main culprits.

Lung irritants, including air pollution, dust inhalation, and exposure to chemicals and fumes in the workplace,  can also cause COPD. In the United States, West Virginia’s coal mining industry makes it the Number One state for COPD.

How is COPD Treated?

There is no cure for COPD, but it can be managed with medication, oxygen therapy, and, in severe cases, surgery. Most private insurance plans, as well as Medicaid and Medicare, will pay for pulmonary rehabilitation for COPD. Pulmonary rehab includes exercise, therapeutic lifestyle changes, counseling, as well as strategies to manage one’s energy throughout the day.

Regency Jewish Heritage has partnered with the area's leading cardiologists and pulmonologists to form The NJ Heart and Lung Center™

Our program:

  • Reduces hospital readmissions and patient length of stay
  • Maximizes ability for patient to regain ADL skills and independence
  • Offers 24/7/365 physician coverage through on-site staff and advanced telemedicine program
  • Has an on-site sleep study program to unlock Medicare benefit for Bipap utilization upon discharge
  • Offers STAT availability of Labs, X-Ray and other diagnostic tools

Our Outcomes & Capabilities include:

  • Cardiologist and pulmonologist on site daily for immediate intervention
  • Specialized rehab & nursing protocols developed in partnership with leading cardiologists & pulmonologists
  • A plan proven to prevent readmission to the hospital and improve patient independence and functionality
  • Regular Communication Between Patient, Family, Staff & Physicians
  • Collaborative care planning with other physician & therapy specialists
  • Advanced staff education & training
  • Transitional care nurse & enhanced discharge-to-home process
  • Follow-up home visit within 24-48 hours
  • Educational material provided to patients & families

We offer the very best of care in a patient-centered environment. This means always listening to our residents and patients and respecting their capabilities, while helping them to achieve maximum functionality and independence. And always maintaining the highest professional and quality standards in our staff and our facilities. Our 25 years of excellent care have led to us being awarded a Best Nursing Homes award by US News & World Today, a 5-Star rating by USA Today, and an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau, among many other awards.

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Are you interested in The NJ Heart and Lung Center for yourself or someone you love? A member of our team will be happy to answer your questions and schedule an on-site tour. Of course, you can also call us anytime.

The NJ Heart and Lung Center at Regency Jewish Heritage
380 DeMott Lane, Somerset, NJ 08873
(732) 873-2000
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The NJ Heart and Lung Center at Regency Gardens
296 Hamburg Turnpike, Wayne, NJ 07470
(973) 790-5800
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