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COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

Do I have COPD?

01/31/2008

Question:

A few years ago I informed my doctor that I got really short of breath with the slightest bit of exercise. He did a chest Xray and told me that I had COPD since he saw where my diaphragm had flattened out. I`ve done a lot of research online about COPD and nowhere have I seen where a flat diaphragm is an indication of it. I did smoke for years but haven`t smoked in 6-7 years but the shortness of breath seems to get worse instead of better. Is there anything that can be done about this condition or is there a treatment? I`d appreciate any advice you can offer.

Answer:

A flattened diaphragm may be an indication of lung hyperinflation, which can be a finding in COPD. The best test to diagnosis COPD, however, is a pulmonary function test. COPD is caused by smoking, and quitting smoking was the best thing you could have done to avoid further damage to your lungs. There are medications (e.g. inhalers that open up the airways) and other options (including exercise rehabilitation programs) available to treat COPD. You should discuss this further with your physician.

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Response by:

Mahasti   Rittinger, RRT Mahasti Rittinger, RRT
Clinical Program Manager of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University

Phillip T Diaz, MD Phillip T Diaz, MD
Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University