The Link Between Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Heart Disease
For decades, the three leading causes of death in the US were heart disease, cancer, and stroke. However, for the last ten years, lung disease has displaced stroke as the third to third-leading cause of death.
The lung disease responsible for this rise? Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), which has been diagnosed in nearly 13 million Americans, millions more going undiagnosed.
COPD is sometimes confused with heart disease. It shares many of the same risk factors. Cigarette smoking, for example, is implicated in both diseases. Some symptoms of COPD are also common in heart disease, such as shortness of breath during exercise.
Distinguishing between the two can be difficult, even for doctors, which is one reason COPD is underdiagnosed. A spirometer, which measures the amount and rate of air movement in and out of the lungs, can be used to diagnose COPD. However, this simple test often goes undone, except by lung specialists.
If you have any of the following symptoms of COPD, you should see a pulmonologist:
- A persistent, productive cough
- Shortness of breath, especially when active
- Tightness in the chest
- Frequent lung infections
If it is COPD, you may need an inhaler to control it. However, if your COPD is moderate or severe, you may need pulmonary rehabilitation, a multidisciplinary regimen that enables your lungs to use oxygen more efficiently, and teaches you techniques to ensure you breathe more easily.
Laurel Bay Health and Rehabilitation Center, in the scenic beach town of Keansburg, NJ, specializes in pulmonary care. Headed by leading pulmonary specialist Dr. Avtar Parhar, our program is the most highly advanced pulmonary rehabilitation program in Monmouth County. At Laurel Bay, we focus on restorative and preventive care for those who suffer with chronic respiratory disease.
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