If you have ever been able to breathe normally and freely, you may have taken your lungs for granted. Now, even on your good days, simply drawing in a breath and exhaling seems like a chore. You also have flareups that often make it difficult to climb out of bed.
Pulmonologists are medical specialists who diagnose and treat illnesses of the respiratory system. If you have not yet been able to determine the cause of your breathing difficulties, you may want to ask your primary care physician for a referral. After all, you may have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
COPD is a lung disease that often causes chronic inflammation of the lungs. If you have COPD, you may also have an overproduction of mucus in your lungs, making it exceedingly challenging for air to move through your respiratory system.
Consider talking to your doctor or a pulmonologist if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Chronic coughing
- Chest tightness
- Shortness of breath
While not always the case, those with COPD often have a history of exposure to toxic gases, such as cigarette smoke. COPD also has close links to asthma, chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Regrettably, if you have COPD, you may have an increased risk of developing lung cancer and heart disease.
You probably do not have to give up on your hopes of breathing freely once again, as doctors have a variety of treatment options for those with COPD diagnoses. Ultimately, if you cannot work due to your COPD, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits to help you pay for both treatment and ordinary living expenses.