Knowing the warnings signs of COPD

1.3 million Texans live with disease; November marks COPD Awareness Month

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) is a disease that affects millions of Americans.

The American Lung Association says 12.5 million Americans are living with the disease, and 1.3 million of them are in Texas.

The two main causes of COPD are smoking and pollution. The smoke and pollutants get into the lungs and blocks the flow of air in the lungs.

“We do have therapies to help the symptoms, but it’s a permanent condition,” said Dr. Diego Maselli, Chief of the Division of Pulmonary Diseases and Critical Care at UT Health San Antonio.

Some of the main symptoms of COPD look like normal cold symptoms, however, these don’t go away after medicine or rest.

Those symptoms include:

  • Cough
  • Chest tightness
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue

“We really really encourage everyone that has respiratory symptoms and have a history of smoking or exposure to chemicals to seek medical advice and say ‘Hey, can I be checked for COPD?’,” Maselli said.

After diagnosis, doctors will continuously monitor the airflow in your lungs. They do this with a device called a Spire, which is a wearable health tag. It tracks a persons COPD by using advanced algorithms to monitor each patient’s health patterns and prevent unwanted hospitalizations.

About the Author:

Halee Powers is a KSAT producer primarily focused on digital newscasts and events.