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Understanding COPD

There are 15 million American adults, the “missing millions,” with undiagnosed Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD). In partnership with the COPD Foundation, our goal is to raise awareness around this disease, identify those with undiagnosed COPD, and increase access to pulmonary rehabilitation. 

Available Webinar

Village medical

In partnership with The COPD Foundation, Village Medical hosted a complimentary 45-minute virtual event about the signs, symptoms, and treatments for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We heard from current COPD patients and offered valuable strategies to breathe better with COPD.

Dr. David Hatfield, Chief Physician Executive at Village Medical, and Dr. David Mannino, Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer of the COPD Foundation led the discussion.

Watch Now to begin your journey to better health!

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What is COPD?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a disease that damages the lungs, making it difficult to breathe over time. It includes other chronic lung diseases like emphysema and chronic bronchitis. In COPD, the airflow through your lungs is blocked (obstructed). Less air is flowing in and out which can be caused by swelling and extra mucus in the tubes inside your lungs. 


The symptoms of COPD often take years to develop but with lifestyle changes and treatments, your quality of life can greatly improve and allow you to stay active.  

COPD Signs & Symptoms

The symptoms of COPD can be different for each person. Symptoms can also vary from day to day, with some days being worse than others. Common symptoms of COPD include:

Shortness of breath, especially while doing everyday activities
A frequent cough with or without mucus
Wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe in or out)
Chest tightness

Be sure to speak with your care team at the first sign of COPD symptoms so they can be managed to help improve your quality of life and overall health. COPD is not a disease that can be cured, but it can be successfully managed and treated.

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COPD is usually diagnosed through lung function testing such as spirometry. A spirometry test measures how well your lungs are working. It’s a simple and painless test that can help diagnose COPD. Your doctor may order additional tests to get a more complete picture of how your lungs are functioning. 

A person may have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) but not notice symptoms until it is in the moderate stage. Leaving symptoms misdiagnosed, untreated, or undertreated may cause them to worsen faster than if they were treated with proper medication and therapy. Many adults with COPD are incorrectly diagnosed with asthma. Providing a proper diagnosis means individuals will receive the right treatments and follow-up monitoring. There is no cure yet for COPD, but treatments are available to help individuals live better with this condition. 

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When it comes to managing COPD, a comprehensive approach is crucial. While a cure for COPD is not available, various treatment options can help control symptoms and slow down the disease's advancement. Here's what you need to know. 

Medications: Bronchodilators and inhaled corticosteroids are commonly prescribed to relax the airways, reduce inflammation, and improve breathing. 
Pulmonary rehabilitation:
 Engaging in structured programs that combine exercise, education, and breathing techniques can enhance lung function and overall well-being. 
Oxygen therapy:
Supplemental oxygen may be recommended to ensure adequate oxygen levels, reduce breathlessness, and improve stamina. 
Lifestyle modifications:
Quitting smoking, regular exercise, and adopting a healthy diet are essential for managing COPD effectively. 
Annual flu vaccine and pneumonia vaccine. 

Your Village Medical care team will help you figure out which medications, devices and lifestyle changes are right for you. 



Discover a wealth of valuable and comprehensive resources on COPD that will empower and educate you.

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