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Pneumology

What is Pulmonary Disease?

A type of disease that affects the lungs and other parts of the respiratory system. Pulmonary diseases may be caused by infection, by smoking tobacco, or by breathing in secondhand tobacco smoke, radon, asbestos, or other forms of air pollution.

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Sergio A. Martinez, MD

Dr. Sergio A. Martinez, graduated from Universidad Catolica Madre Maestra in Santo Domingo, RD. Dr. Martinez got his medical training at Maimonides Hospital Medical Center in New York, The New York Medical Center of Queens, St. Barnabas Hospital.

At present Dr. Martinez is part of Performance Improvement Committee and Associated Program Director at Forest Hills Hospital / North Short Long Island Jewish Health System; Dr. Martinez was a professor of medicine at SUNY/ Health Science Center and Fellowship Clinical Pulmonary Instructor at Long Island College Hospital.

Dr. Martinez, has a log experience working in the areas of Internal , Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, he has been working with different cultures and back ground populations; Dr. Martinez is a very knowledge and skill physician in our community, he is a Doctor with heart able to provide the best medical care for his patients.

What are the types of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)?

COPD includes two main types:

  • Emphysema affects the air sacs in your lungs, as well as the walls between them. They become damaged and are less elastic.

  • Chronic bronchitis, in which the lining of your airways is constantly irritated and inflamed. This causes the lining to swell and make mucus.

Most people with COPD have both emphysema and chronic bronchitis, but how severe each type is can be different from person to person.

What causes COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)?

The cause of COPD is usually long-term exposure to irritants that damage your lungs and airways. In the United States, cigarette smoke is the main cause. Pipe, cigar, and other types of tobacco smoke can also cause COPD, especially if you inhale them.

Exposure to other inhaled irritants can contribute to COPD. These include secondhand smoke, air pollution, and chemical fumes or dusts from the environment or workplace.

Rarely, a genetic condition called alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency can play a role in causing COPD.

How is COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) diagnosed?

Your health care provider may use many tools to make a diagnosis:

  • A medical history, which includes asking about your symptoms

  • A family history

  • Various tests, such as lung function tests, a chest x-ray or CT scan, and blood tests

Your doctor will diagnose COPD based on your signs and symptoms, your medical and family histories, and test results.

What are the treatments for COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)?

There is no cure for COPD. However, treatments can help with symptoms, slow the progress of the disease, and improve your ability to stay active. There are also treatments to prevent or treat complications of the disease. Treatments include:

  • Lifestyle changes, such as

    • Quitting smoking if you are a smoker. This is the most important step you can take to treat COPD.

    • Avoiding secondhand smoke and places where you might breathe in other lung irritants

    • Ask your health care provider for an eating plan that will meet your nutritional needs. Also ask about how much physical activity you can do. Physical activity can strengthen the muscles that help you breathe and improve your overall wellness.

  • Medicines, such as

    • Bronchodilators, which relax the muscles around your airways. This helps open your airways and makes breathing easier. Most bronchodilators are taken through an inhaler. In more severe cases, the inhaler may also contain steroids to reduce inflammation.

    • Vaccines for the flu and pneumococcal pneumonia, since people with COPD are at higher risk for serious problems from these diseases

    • Antibiotics if you get a bacterial or viral lung infection

  • Oxygen therapy, if you have severe COPD and low levels of oxygen in your blood. Oxygen therapy can help you breathe better. You may need extra oxygen all the time or only at certain times.

  • Pulmonary rehabilitation, which is a program that helps improve the well-being of people who have chronic breathing problems. It may include

    • An exercise program

    • Disease management training

    • Nutritional counseling

    • Psychological counseling

  • Surgery, usually as a last resort for people who have severe symptoms that have not gotten better with medicines:

    • For COPD that is mainly related to emphysema, there are surgeries that

      • Remove damaged lung tissue

      • Remove large air spaces (bullae) that can form when air sacs are destroyed. The bullae can interfere with breathing.

    • For severe COPD, some people may need lung transplant

If you have COPD, it's important to know when and where to get help for your symptoms. You should get emergency care if you have severe symptoms, such as trouble catching your breath or talking. Call your health care provider if your symptoms are getting worse or if you have signs of an infection, such as a fever.

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