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Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Modest COPDer

If I didn't see it first hand, I never would believe a person could be short of breath and not know it. Yet, from time to time, I have a COPD patient come to see me in the ER who is short of breath and not know it. It almost sounds amazing, yet it's a reality.

Once you think about it it makes sense. Imagine that you stopped smoking ten years ago, and before you quit you caused some damage to your lungs. You have COPD. So even while you quit, the disease process is slowly progressing. And, so, while you may become progresively more short of breath, the transgression may be so slow you may not even notice a difference.

So you finally come to the ER for some other reason, and the ER doctor listens to you, hears some noise that is not normal, has the RT give you a breathing treatment, and when the treatment is done you say, "Wow! I can breath much better. I didn't even know I was short of breath!"

This scenario sounds odd, but it happens from time to time. It happens because, as this article here notes:

"Researchers studying those with known risk factors recently found that approximately 10% of people over 40 are affected by the disease. Although test results suggested 20% of the people tested positive for a diagnosis of COPD, only 30% of those had a previous diagnosis or even a suggestion for a diagnosis. Since all of these participants had two major risk factors for COPD, the indication that so many of these people were undiagnosed is troubling to say the least."
I wrote about the Modest Asthmatic. What we have here is the modest COPDer. A sad but true reality.

If you have a bad heart, and you are diagnosed properly, your doctor can prevent your heart from getting worse. The same holds true for the lungs.

If you're having any degree of shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness, excessive cough or phlegm production year round, then you ought to see a doctor. He can provide you with medicine and therapies to slow the progression of your disease, allow you to live longer, and healthier.

Word of the day: Apposite: Strikingly relevant, applicative, applicatory, apropos or suitable, apt; well-adapted; pertinent; relevant; an apposite answer. (From [Latin appositus, past participle of appōnere, to put near : ad-, ad- + pōnere, to put; see apo- in Indo-European roots.]

It was apposite of the respirator therapist to keep her mouth shut when the doctor ordred an Albuterol breathing treatment for the patient recently diagnosed with pneumonia.

1 comment:

Rick Frea said...

The comments that were here were not deleted, they were moved to the post they were in reference to.