What You Need to Know About COPD and Asthma
What is COPD?
COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. There are 2 types of long-term diseases associated with COPD where the airways in the lungs become swollen and partly blocked.
Emphysema- damages the tiny air sacs (alveoli) in your lungs and causes them to stiffen rather than expanding like balloons thus making it difficult to breathe.
Chronic Bronchitis- causes the airways to swell and become irritated producing more mucus which impedes the airflow and makes you cough. Coughing usually brings up mucus and causes you to feel short or breath.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic (long-term) disease of the airways that causes inflammation and narrowing of the bronchial tubes which leads to limited airflow and difficulty breathing. Your bronchial tubes are surrounded by muscles and contain mucous glands. When people with asthma encounter triggers, these muscles can tighten causing the lining of the airways to swell and fill with mucus. This makes breathing very difficult and can lead to asthma exacerbation, also known as an asthma attack.
COPD and Asthma can get worse over time and cannot be cured, however, they can be managed and treated with regular care.
What causes COPD?
Smoking is the number one cause of COPD.
Other causes include:
- A rare genetic disorder
- Second-hand smoke
- Air pollution (dust or chemicals)
- Repeated lung infections during childhood
- Severe asthma
What causes Asthma?
The cause of asthma is largely unknown, however, in Canada it is the third-most common chronic disease. Asthma is not contagious, and researchers have determined that asthma can be caused by both hereditary and environmental factors.
- Family history and Genetics
- Premature Birth
- Lung infections
At Appletree, we can help manage your COPD and Asthma. Whether you are newly diagnosed, or have been living with your COPD/Asthma for some time, we can help.
Appletree offers a COPD/Asthma clinic by appointment. Supervised by a specialist, this program is designed to follow the patient on a routine basis to ensure that the medications and interventions recommended are effective. Patients with these chronic conditions are often only seen at the time of an exacerbation or when medications need to be renewed so the focus is often not on their long-term stability and prognosis.
How Can I Access This Service?
This service is available at our 2948 Baseline Road clinic by referral. Please ask your family doctor for a referral to the COPD/Asthma program.
What to Expect During Your Appointment
- You will be asked a series of questions regarding your lifestyle, your triggers, and your chart will be updated with your height, weight, and blood pressure.
- Please bring a list of all your medications with the dosages with you to your visit.
- You will be provided with education on medications and how best to keep your condition well controlled.