News / Health

New Study Shows Improved Treatment For COPD Lung Patients

New Study Shows Improved Treatment For COPD Lung Patients
New Study Shows Improved Treatment For COPD Lung Patients

Multimedia

Melinda Smith

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, known as COPD, is a life-threatening illness commonly brought on by years of smoking.  The World Health Organization estimates that more than 200 million people have been diagnosed with the illness, and that most live in low- and middle-income countries.  While it isn't curable, patients' lives can be extended with treatment such as steroids.  A new study shows that low doses of the medicine given by mouth are equal to, or better than, a heavy dose administered intravenously.

Meet Dr. Francis Welch, a retired dentist and now a patient diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.  He is paying the price for years of smoking. "I have to think about breathing 60 minutes of every hour.  It's a heck of a nuisance," he says.

Because COPD is an ailment that blocks airflow in the lungs, it is critical that COPD patients often focus on breathing, exercise regularly and learn relaxation techniques, especially when they are short of breath.   

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease stems from emphysema and chronic bronchitis, as well as asthmatic bronchitis. Other symptoms include wheezing, a chronic cough producing yellow mucous, and frequent respiratory infections.

The most common cause of COPD is long-term smoking or years of exposure to second-hand smoke.  
Miners and workers in chemical industries also are vulnerable because of their exposure to dust, harmful chemicals and fumes.

Doctors say the damage brought on by these conditions eventually interrupts the natural exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the lungs.  When those conditions worsen, doctors often treat patients with steroids.

Dr. Peter Lindenauer of Tufts University School of Medicine and his colleagues studied COPD patients treated at 400 hospitals in 2006 and 2007. During hospitalization, patients were treated with steroids either intravenously or by mouth.  "The patients in the intravenous therapy group are receiving ten times as high a dose of steroids over the first two days of hospitalization, as compared to patients in the oral therapy group," he says.

In the study, patients who received lower doses of steroids by mouth spent less time in the hospital, and their risk of side effects such as glaucoma, high blood pressure and edema, or swelling in the legs, was reduced.

Dr. Welch stopped smoking more than a decade ago, and he persuaded his son to quit also. "He saw me walking around with a can of liquid oxygen.  That got his attention.  He finally did smoke, quit smoking, thank God," he says.

The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid