Specialists at Rush offer treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that can help you breathe easier.
COPD is a lung disease that can cause inflammation of your airways, making it difficult to breathe, and can cause damage to your alveoli (air sacs). Damaged alveoli carry less oxygen to your bloodstream when you inhale, and trap stale air in your lungs so there's less room for fresh air to enter.
Smoking is the most common cause of COPD, and the easiest way to prevent it is to quit smoking. Rush’s smoking cessation programs can help.
When to Get Help for COPD
COPD symptoms, including daily coughing and shortness of breath, are often mild at first but usually get worse over time.
Talk to your primary care doctor if you have these symptoms or other breathing issues, including wheezing or discomfort when you breathe, for more than a week or two. They'll refer you to a lung specialist (pulmonologist) for definitive diagnosis.
COPD can be life-threatening in its advanced stages, so it's important to get help before you sustain serious lung damage.
COPD Treatment at Rush
COPD has some symptoms in common with asthma, but they're not the same disease and their treatments are different. That's why it's critical to get an accurate diagnosis quickly. Rush specialists use diagnostic tools like pulmonary function testing, X-rays or CT scans of your chest, and tests that measure the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your blood.
COPD isn't reversible, but the right treatment can greatly improve your quality of life by making it easier to breathe. Your pulmonologist may recommend that you use supplemental oxygen, and you might be prescribed a combination of medications: bronchodilators to open the airway by relaxing the small muscles around it, and inhaled corticosteroids to reduce lung inflammation.
Whatever your symptoms, Rush's pulmonary rehabilitation program can help you breathe more easily and live life to the fullest.
Rush Excellence in COPD Care
- National leaders in COPD care: U.S. News & World Report ranked Rush University Medical Center among the best in the nation for pulmonology and lung surgery, and recognized Rush Copley Medical Center as a high performing center for the treatment of COPD.
- Fast diagnosis: To get your COPD under control, you need a fast, accurate diagnosis and treatment that starts right away. The Rush pulmonology team is committed to seeing you quickly and starting your plan of action.
- Rehab that gets results: Your personalized pulmonary rehabilitation program will combine education, support and exercise to provide you with practical advice and effective physical conditioning. Rehab helps decrease your COPD symptoms by boosting your ability to exercise, helping you function more comfortably in daily life and giving you ways to manage the anxiety and depression that can accompany a COPD diagnosis.
- Partners in care: The respiratory therapists at Rush are some of the most highly trained in the region. They're your go-to team for effective pulmonary rehabilitation, making sure your oxygen therapy supplies fit and work well, and showing you ways to prevent symptom flareups, or exacerbations, that can lead to a hospital stay.
- Support to quit: About 75% of people with COPD are current or former smokers. If you're still smoking and need help quitting, Rush's smoking cessation program offers options and support.
- Care where you need it: Rush pulmonologists are located in Chicago, Oak Park and Aurora/Fox Valley. Even if you have tests or procedures at Rush University Medical Center, you can schedule follow-up appointments or pulmonary rehabilitation at a location that's convenient for you.