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Quiz: Myths and Facts About COPD

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COPD can be diagnosed with a test.

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COPD can be diagnosed with a test.

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  • Correct Answer:

Spirometry is a simple breathing test that can find this lung disease. It can pick up on the problem even before your symptoms get bad. It measures how much air you can blow out of your lungs and how fast you can do it.

 

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) makes breathing tough and pushes your heart to work harder. You're more likely to get it if you:

  • Are over 40 and smoke or ever smoked
  • Have long-term or heavy exposure to certain chemicals, fumes, or dust or other gunk in the air
  • Inhaled a lot of secondhand smoke
  • Have the genetic condition known as alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
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There are two types of COPD. 

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There are two types of COPD. 

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Most people with the disease have both chronic bronchitis and emphysema. But you could have just one and still have COPD.

With chronic bronchitis, the airways that lead to your lungs are inflamed, and over time their lining changes. This leads to a cough that won’t go away and too much mucus.

Emphysema causes air sacs in your lungs to break down. When this happens, you have a hard time getting oxygen into your blood.

How many Americans adults have COPD?

How many Americans adults have COPD?

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Many people who have the disease probably don't know it. Experts think lots of cases of COPD don't get diagnosed.

Why don’t more people get diagnosed early on?

Why don’t more people get diagnosed early on?

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Because the disease takes time to get worse, you may not realize there’s a problem. Or you could blame your cough or lack of breath on getting older. You might also change what you do every day to avoid things that make it hard to breathe.

Smoking is the top cause of COPD.

Smoking is the top cause of COPD.

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Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of the disease. Most people who have it smoke or used to smoke. Still, many smokers never get the disease. And since there are other causes, a small number of people who get it have never touched tobacco.

Which of the following is a symptom?

Which of the following is a symptom?

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Early warning signs of COPD vary, but among the most common are:

  • Coughing up a lot of mucus or sputum from your lungs
  • Shortness of breath
  • An ongoing cough

You can have COPD and asthma.

You can have COPD and asthma.

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You can have both. But asthma usually begins at a younger age. COPD is often linked to older age and smoking.

 

The symptoms can be a lot alike. But asthma symptoms -- wheezing, shortness of breath, and coughing -- get set off by a certain trigger, like allergies or hard exercise. They also can get better with treatment. For people with COPD, lung damage gets worse over time.

Once you have COPD, you'll never feel better.

Once you have COPD, you'll never feel better.

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There's no cure for the condition, but you can treat its symptoms and live better. A lot depends on how well your lungs are working. It also makes a difference how well you follow your treatment program and how your body responds to it.

 

You can feel better, stay active, and slow how quickly the disease gets worse.

You need to watch what you eat when you have the disease.

You need to watch what you eat when you have the disease.

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You can burn up to 10 times more calories just trying to breathe compared to a person without COPD. If you’re overweight, your heart and lungs have to work even harder. If you’re underweight, you may be more likely to get health complications from illnesses. So it's important to get to a healthy weight and keep it there. Make nutritious food choices to get started -- that can help you manage your disease better.

COPD is more common later in life.

COPD is more common later in life.

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  • Correct Answer:

Most people who've been diagnosed are over 45. The disease is most common in men 75 - 84 years old and in women 65 - 84. A genetic condition called alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency can cause it in young adults. Lots of people don't get diagnosed because they chalk up their breathing trouble to being sick or out of shape.

Stop smoking: It’s the best way to fight off COPD.

Stop smoking: It’s the best way to fight off COPD.

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Quit. It slows how quickly the disease gets worse. It also lowers your chances of getting COPD in the first place.

 

COPD is more common later in life.

COPD is more common later in life.

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COPD is diagnosed most often in people who are over 45. The CDC reports that COPD prevalence was highest among women aged 65–74 (10.4%) and 75–84 (9.7%) and
among men aged 75–84 (11.2%).

Quitting smoking is the single most effective way to combat COPD.

Quitting smoking is the single most effective way to combat COPD.

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Kicking the smoking habit is the single most effective way to slow the progression of COPD or reduce the risk of developing it. If you quit smoking, you can stop or slow down further damage to your lungs.

People with COPD need a flu vaccine every year.

People with COPD need a flu vaccine every year.

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The flu can cause serious problems for people with the lung disease. You’re also at greater risk for lung infections like pneumonia. Talk to your doctor about getting vaccinated.

Which is a COPD treatment?

Which is a COPD treatment?

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Pulmonary rehabilitation involves exercise, education about what you need to eat, and sometimes mental health care, like counseling. Your doctor may prescribe inhaler medicines. They relax your airways and make it easier to breathe. And if you have severe COPD, you may need extra oxygen.  

If your symptoms suddenly get worse it’s called:

If your symptoms suddenly get worse it’s called:

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Common warning signs are wheezing, worse coughing or shortness of breath, shallow or rapid breathing, raised heart rate or temperature, and a change in the color of your mucus.

 

People with COPD may have one or two exacerbations a year, and those tend to get worse over time. Talk to your doctor about a treatment plan that will help you feel your best.

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