Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) makes it progressively harder to breathe and can ultimately lead to death. While it can’t be cured, proactive, consistent management can help ensure a much longer, more comfortable life. In fact, through close collaboration with healthcare experts and strict adherence to a treatment plan, COPD patients can live a normal daily life and minimize the disease’s progression.
What does COPD do?
There are two main types of COPD — emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Throughout the breathing process, millions of tiny air sacs inflate and deflate, circulating air throughout the lungs.
- In emphysema, the walls of those air sacs become destroyed, which ultimately reduces the amount of gas exchange in the lungs.
- In chronic bronchitis, thick mucus forms in the airways that lead to the sacs.
Many people who have COPD suffer from some combination of both emphysema and chronic bronchitis. The clogging and collapsing that occurs within the lungs can lead to breathing difficulty, cough, mucus and wheezing. Without proper treatment, COPD can be fatal; it is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. Medical costs for COPD in the United States is expected to reach an estimated $49 billion by 2020 according to new research from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
How to control COPD
Once air sacs collapse, the damage is irreversible. That’s why it is critical to slow the progress of COPD’s spread. Ongoing medication paired with an active lifestyle can minimize flare-ups and improve breathing. However, even with an ongoing treatment plan, routine illnesses such as cold and flu can cause rapid acceleration of lung deterioration. Identifying and treating these illnesses before they have the opportunity to exacerbate lung damage is the key to keeping COPD in check.
How AllHealth CHOICE can help
The required frequency of doctor visits for chronic conditions such as COPD can exceed the patient’s level of time or funding. Our MyCharlie app leverages virtual technology to bridge the gap between the patient and the care provider, enables daily engagement that helps reduce the need for doctor visits, keeps tabs on the patient, ensures medication and lifestyle modifications are followed as well as other factors that improve the participant’s wellbeing and reduce the need for trips to the ED, hospital or physician due to a lack of consistent management. Our approach works to help the patient have the best quality of life possible while reducing costs. Interested? Contact AllHealth CHOICE today.
INFORMATION IN THE ARTICLE SOURCED FROM THE NATIONAL HEART, LUNG, AND BLOOD INSTITUTE