COPD: Just the FAQs

Published in NJ Heart and Lung News

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.

Contact us by clicking here.

 

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The Most Common Complications of COPD

Published in NJ Heart and Lung News

COPD, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, is the acronym used for a group of lung conditions, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema, that progressively get worse over time. COPD prevents the lungs from working in an efficient manner and can lead to a wide range of complications.

The most common complications of COPD are:

1. Pneumonia

It is well-known that people with COPD are at far greater risk from pneumonia than people without COPD.

This risk is especially great in seniors: a study published in the medical journal PLOS ONE discovered that older adults with COPD were six times more likely to develop pneumonia than people without the disease.

2. Heart failure

Research from the Global Strategy for the Diagnosis, Management and Prevention of COPD suggests that approximately half of all people with COPD will go on to develop heart failure. As people age, the percentage of people with COPD and heart failure increases to nearly 70%.

3. Frailty

A study published in the journal Heart Lung has shown that 58% of people with COPD will become clinically frail. Frailty includes such disabling features as weight loss, muscle loss, fatigue, and decreased mobility.

4. Depression

Not surprisingly, COPD can lead to serious mental health issues, in particular to depression. As people find the number of things they can do getting fewer, their mental health often begins to suffer. Many things they once enjoyed they can no longer do, and many changes must be made in the way they live. A study published in the journal BMC Public Health has shown that the rate of depression among people with COPD was nearly twice as high as those without this serious disease.

It goes without saying that a chronic, progressive illness like COPD is associated with a high mortality rate. In fact, according to the American Lung Association, COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States.

For people suffering from this disease it is important to see a doctor regularly, to take all prescribed medications, and, of course, to quit smoking. Furthermore, getting a vaccine for both the flu and pneumonia can prevent many possible complications. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including getting enough sleep, enough exercise, and eating a healthy diet, can help offset the dangers of this common yet serious disease.

Education, in the form of rehabilitation, is also important. Most private insurance plans, as well as Medicaid and Medicare, will pay for pulmonary rehabilitation for COPD. Pulmonary rehab includes progressive exercise, the introduction of therapeutic lifestyle changes, counseling, as well as strategies to manage one’s energy throughout the day.

At the NJ Heart and Lung Center™ of Regency Jewish Heritage, you will have an individualized plan, proven to prevent readmission to the hospital, and to improve your independence.  

Regency Jewish has partnered with the area's leading cardiologists and pulmonologists to create a program that:   

  • 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

Regency prides itself on offering 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. Contact us by clicking here.

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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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