March 1, 2010 (Jamaica, NY)ÛÓ Breathing should be easy. However, nearly 24 million Americans experience shortness of breathÛÓa common sign of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
COPD, which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema, reduces air that flows in and out of the lungs. According to the American Lung Association, chronic bronchitis occurs when the lining of the breathing tubes become swollen and produce a lot of mucus that gets coughed up; whereas emphysema causes the walls of the air sacs in the lung to break down and create large air spaces where air gets trapped.
The loss of lung function can result a variety of symptomsÛÓconstant coughing, shortness of breathe, producing a lot of mucus, feeling unable to breathe, and/or wheezing.
ÛÏThe biggest problem with COPD is that there are so many individuals who have the disease and donÛªt know it,Û said Edward Schrager, Director of Respiratory Care at Jamaica and Flushing Hospitals. ÛÏThey donÛªt think much of the symptoms and by the time they are diagnosed, the disease has progressed significantly. Fortunately, COPD can be detected early and managed.Û
Jamaica and Flushing Hospitals, who recently earned Quality Respiratory Care Recognition from the American Association for Respiratory Care, offer testing options for COPD. The hospitals use a spirometer, a machine that measures the amount of air blown into it and how fast the air was blown into it, to screen for the disease. In addition, chest-x-rays are used to test for COPD as well.
While lung damage is irreversible, it can be managed with different treatment options. Jamaica and Flushing Hospitals provide pulmonary rehabilitation, a multidisciplinary approach to manage COPD including components such as education, breathing techniques, and nutritional advice; oxygen therapy, which administers oxygen to the lungs; and medication.
There are several risk factors associated with COPD, including tobacco, air pollution, asthma, and heredity. If you are at-risk for COPD, or have been experiencing symptoms and would like to schedule an appointment with a respiratory therapist, please call Jamaica Hospital at 718-206-6091 or Flushing Hospital at 718-670-8888.
Jamaica Hospital Medical Center serves a population greater than 1.2 million in Queens and eastern Brooklyn. This 431-bed medical center is an accredited community teaching hospital with a large network of community-based ambulatory care centers. JHMC offers an array of acute inpatient, rehabilitation and mental health services, and is one of the busiest Level 1 trauma centers in New York City. The hospital provides general medical, pediatric, and dental services, in addition to home health services. Jamaica Hospital Medical CenterÛªs mission is to serve patients and the community in a way that is second to none. For additional information, please contact Public Affairs at 718-206-6020.
Flushing Hospital Medical Center serves a community of over 1.9 million residents throughout Queens. This 325-bed facility is an accredited community teaching hospital that has over 40 general and specialty clinics, including Internal and Pediatric Medicine, Ophthalmology, Podiatry, OB/GYN, Dentistry, and Mental Health. The hospital also has the only patient Geriatric Medical Unit in Queens and an extensive Community Outreach Department. In 1999, FHMC was credited with discovering an outbreak of the West Nile Virus. Flushing Hospital Medical CenterÛªs mission is to provide superior service to patients and the community in a caring environment. For additional information, please contact Public Affairs at 718-670-8930.