A diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) changes your life. You will be needing greater support from family, friends, and your doctor, but you will indeed be able to continue enjoying a relatively normal lifestyle.
A pulmonologist specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of lung issues, and this doctor can put together a comprehensive treatment plan to help you live with COPD and enhance your quality of life. Let’s talk about a few main things that you can expect from your partnership with a pulmonologist:
Advice About Protecting Your Lungs
The first thing a pulmonologist asks is that you stop smoking if you do, and to avoid secondhand smoke. COPD weakens your lungs, so quitting smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke inhalation helps to improve lung function and helps to prevent COPD from getting worse. Your pulmonologist may recommend that you try nicotine-replacement products to help curb the cravings of smoking without experiencing its harmful effects.
Doctors usually prescribe COPD medication to help keep the condition under control. There are many different types of COPD medications, and patients may need more than one to better manage the disease.
Pulmonologists often employ lung therapies for patients who have moderate to severe COPD, especially oxygen therapy. The narrowing of the airways in the lungs – which is characteristic of COPD – can reduce blood oxygen levels, so supplemental oxygen is often prescribed to help control the issue.
Lightweight portable units can be used and carried backpack-style or fanny-pack-style during all daily activities and while sleeping. Patients who have COPD have reported clear benefits and more energy thanks to receiving oxygen therapy.
If you have severe COPD, you may be a good candidate for lung reduction surgery. This involves the removal of the damaged portion of the lung, which thereby enables the remaining lung tissue to function better. Your pulmonologist may also recommend lung transplant surgery, depending on your condition.
Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program
Your pulmonologist may refer you to a pulmonary rehabilitation program for education, exercise, and nutrition counseling. Nutrition and exercise can affect your ability to breathe, so you and your healthcare team can work together to create a meal plan that will supply all of your nutritional needs while including foods that you enjoy.
COPD patients often breathe easier with a diet rich in healthy fats, high in fiber and complex carbohydrates, and low in simple carbohydrates, with the meals divided into smaller servings throughout the day. Likewise, exercises that work best for patients with COPD include stretching, light aerobic exercises, and resistance exercises.
Pulmonologists in Sarasota and Bradenton, FL
If you are looking for world-class lung care, our pulmonologists at Intercoastal Medical Group are here for you. We can help you live and thrive with COPD through treatment programs that are tailored to your needs, and our entire medical team can take care of the healthcare needs of you and your whole family. We are a comprehensive multi-specialty healthcare provider with specialists in everything from neurology to allergy/asthma to dermatology and podiatry.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment with one of our pulmonologists, call our Cattleridge office in Sarasota or our Lakewood Ranch I office in Bradenton. You can also fill out our appointment request form online now. We look forward to seeing you!