COPD Specialist

Care and Cure AZ

Sandhya Venugopal, MD

Internal Medicine & Primary Care located in Phoenix, AZ

About 65 million men and women worldwide suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). When you have COPD, you don’t get enough airflow and struggle to breathe. Severe COPD can cause debilitating symptoms and could be deadly. But when you take action in the early stages of the disease, you can ease symptoms and prevent them from worsening. At Care and Cure AZ in Phoenix, Arizona, primary care physician Sandhya Venugopal, MD, offers the compassionate, accessible care you need in a welcoming setting. Call the office or use the online scheduler to set up your appointment.

COPD Q&A

What is COPD?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung disease that involves serious airflow and breathing difficulties. The two primary forms of COPD are:

Emphysema

Normal healthy lungs have alveoli — tiny air sacs that inflate and deflate as you breathe. If you have emphysema, your alveoli become damaged over time. Eventually, this leads to fewer air sacs and more difficulty breathing. 

Chronic bronchitis

Chronic bronchitis is long-term inflammation within the bronchi — your breathing tubes. This ongoing inflammation triggers mucus overproduction and a chronic cough. 

Both forms of COPD are serious and require medical care.

What are the symptoms of COPD?

The symptoms of COPD usually include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Inability to breathe deeply
  • Chest constriction
  • Chronic cough
  • Mucus-producing cough
  • Chronic fatigue or lethargy

Your symptoms may worsen over time. But you can work with Dr. Venugopal to prevent the disease from progressing.

What causes COPD?

By far the most common cause of COPD is long-term cigarette smoking, though not every smoker develops the disease. Genetics most likely contributes to COPD development. 

Secondhand smoke and environmental pollution exposure can also increase your risk of developing COPD. 

How is COPD diagnosed?

Dr. Venugopal performs pulmonary function tests to evaluate how much air you can inhale and exhale. You may also need other diagnostic tests, such as a chest X-ray, blood testing, or a CT scan. 

As part of your diagnosis, Dr. Venugopal assigns a stage to your disease. The stages include mild, moderate, severe, and very severe. 

How is COPD treated?

At Care and Cure AZ, Dr. Venugopal develops an individualized treatment plan for you. The most important thing you can do for your health and longevity is to stop smoking and/or avoid environmental smoke.

You may need medication to minimize symptoms like chronic cough, mucus overproduction, and wheezing. Some severe COPD sufferers need supplemental oxygen, as well. 

Dr. Venugopal may recommend pulmonary rehab, a treatment option lasting 6-10 weeks during which you learn how to breathe better, maximize your energy, and enhance your overall wellness.

Care and Cure AZ is here for you as you deal with frustrating and difficult COPD symptoms. To learn how Dr. Venugopal can help you breathe well again, call the office or click the online appointment scheduling tool.