Expert Videos

Module: Understanding COPD

Expert Video: What is COPD and what causes it? Expert Video: What is COPD and what causes it?
Expert pulmonologists describe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and its causes. COPD is a chronic condition in the lungs characterized by inflammation and severe limitation of air flow in and out of the lungs. Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of COPD. Other factors can also contribute to COPD such as long-term exposure to second-hand smoke or irritants such as air pollution, dust or workplace fumes.
Expert Video: What are the signs and symptoms of COPD? Expert Video: What are the signs and symptoms of COPD?
Expert pulmonologists talk about the signs and symptoms that may be associated with COPD. Common symptoms include shortness of breath, long-lasting cough and coughing up mucus. People with COPD can experience a range of symptoms.
Expert Video: Why is smoking a risk factor for COPD? Expert Video: Why is smoking a risk factor for COPD?
Expert pulmonologists talk about smoking as a risk factor for COPD. Many patients with COPD have smoked in the past. Cigarette smoking affects the lungs in very bad ways and can cause COPD. Even if you smoke one or two cigarettes a day or even if you are an occasional smoker, cigarette smoke will cause ongoing damage and injury to the lungs.
Expert Video: How do I stop smoking? Expert Video: How do I stop smoking?
Expert pulmonologists talk about ways that health care providers can help their patients quit smoking. Counseling, medications, and other resources and supports can help patients quit. Some patients will be able to stop on their first try, while others will need multiple attempts before they can stop for good. Do not be discouraged because every time you try to quit, you boost your chances of quitting for good.
Expert Video: How does second-hand smoke affect people with COPD? Expert Video: How does second-hand smoke affect people with COPD?
Expert pulmonologists recommend that patients with COPD avoid exposure to second-hand smoke and other lung irritants that can damage and irritate their lungs and airways. Odor from second-hand smoke can cling to clothing and also be problematic for patients with COPD.
Expert Video: Can e-cigarettes help you quit smoking? Expert Video: Can e-cigarettes help you quit smoking?
Expert pulmonologists discuss the controversy and use of e-cigarettes as a way to stop smoking, and they discuss the need for further studies. They emphasize that the goal of quitting smoking is to get away from nicotine completely in order to get completely off of cigarettes for good.
Expert Video: What are the benefits of quitting smoking for patients with COPD? Expert Video: What are the benefits of quitting smoking for patients with COPD?
Expert pulmonologists discuss the benefits of quitting smoking for patients with COPD. The benefits include reduced risk of heart attacks, strokes and cancer. Quitting smoking not only helps the lungs, but also helps the brain, kidneys and all the organs of the body.
Expert Video: What are the complications of COPD? What diseases are associated with COPD? Expert Video: What are the complications of COPD? What diseases are associated with COPD?
Expert pulmonologists describe the complications of COPD and the diseases that commonly occur with COPD. Common associated diseases and conditions include cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease and high cholesterol. Depression is also very common in patients with COPD.
Expert Video: How do I know my COPD is getting worse? Expert Video: How do I know my COPD is getting worse?
Expert pulmonologists describe what happens to COPD patients when their disease gets worse. A big problem that patients experience is increased trouble breathing as they go about their daily activities. If patients experience lung attacks or acute bronchitis on top of their COPD, it is a medical emergency that needs to be treated.
Expert Video: Is depression a concern with COPD? Expert Video: Is depression a concern with COPD?
Expert pulmonologists discuss depression in COPD and some of the factors that can make depression worse. COPD often limits normal abilities and daily activities, and flare-ups and worsening of COPD over time can also contribute to increased underlying depression. Patients should not feel ashamed and should talk to their health care provider about their depression.

Module: Diagnosis of COPD

Expert Video: How is COPD diagnosed? Expert Video: How is COPD diagnosed?
Expert pulmonologists explain that the only way to diagnose COPD is through a lung function test called spirometry. COPD diagnosis cannot be made based on symptoms, smoking history or exposure to second-hand smoke or any other environmental conditions.
Expert Video: Why is early diagnosis of COPD important? Expert Video: Why is early diagnosis of COPD important?
Expert pulmonologists discuss the importance of early diagnosis of COPD which can have a significant impact on disease management. The earlier COPD is diagnosed the better for patient outcomes because interventions can be started early to slow down or help prevent further damage from occurring to the lungs.
Expert Video: What is Spirometry? Expert Video: What is Spirometry?
Expert pulmonologists describe spirometry and how it is used to diagnose COPD. Spirometry is used to identify obstruction by measuring how much air you can breathe out, and how fast you blow air out. The experts explain forced expiratory volume (FEV-1) and forced vital capacity (FVC) and how the values are compared and interpreted in order to diagnose COPD. Spirometry is also called a breathing test or a lung function test or a pulmonary function test.
Expert Video: How often should I do spirometry? Expert Video: How often should I do spirometry?
Expert pulmonologists discuss how often spirometry tests should be repeated. In patients who already have COPD, spirometry is helpful to monitor changes in lung function, especially if done a month or two after an exacerbation of COPD (also called a lung attack).
Expert Video: What is a Pulse Oximeter? Expert Video: What is a Pulse Oximeter?
Expert pulmonologists describe pulse oximeter, a non-invasive device that is attached to a patient’s finger and measures the percentage of oxygen in the blood along with pulse rate. If used properly it can be a useful tool to help patients manage their COPD. It is portable and commonly used by patients with COPD.
Expert Video: What is an acute exacerbation of COPD and what causes it? Expert Video: What is an acute exacerbation of COPD and what causes it?
Expert pulmonologists describe what an acute exacerbation of COPD is and the signs to watch out for. Causes include bacterial infections and viruses, and also inhaling lung irritants such as smoke or exhaust fumes for example. Urgent medical attention is required when the signs of an oncoming exacerbation or actual exacerbation occur.
Expert Video: What other assessments are recommended for COPD patients with acute exacerbations? Expert Video: What other assessments are recommended for COPD patients with acute exacerbations?
Expert pulmonologists discuss other assessments that are recommended to differentiate acute exacerbations of COPD from other conditions that may be confused with exacerbations, such as congestive heart failure, pneumonia or pulmonary edema, for example.
Expert Video: What is the long-term impact of acute exacerbations of COPD? Expert Video: What is the long-term impact of acute exacerbations of COPD?
Expert pulmonologists discuss the long-term impact of acute exacerbations on patients with COPD. Every time a patient has an exacerbation of COPD their lungs take a hit, and overtime they may lose lung function faster than patients who don’t have exacerbations. Getting help early on and taking medications where indicated is vitally important and can reduce the chance of repeat exacerbations and hospital visits.

Module: Treatment of COPD

Expert Video: What lifestyle changes are important for persons living with COPD? Expert Video: What lifestyle changes are important for persons living with COPD?
Expert pulmonologists describe the importance of lifestyle changes in persons living with COPD. The lifestyle changes that are discussed include quitting smoking, avoiding second-hand smoke and other lung irritants, getting regular exercise, and pulmonary rehabilitation. It is also important to have a personal COPD action plan. The experts emphasize that COPD is treatable and that quality of life can be improved.
Expert Video: When should a patient be referred to a lung specialist? Expert Video: When should a patient be referred to a lung specialist?
Expert physicians talk about the situations in which COPD patients should be referred to lung specialists for other special tests. COPD patients who are very short of breath and very symptomatic, as well as those patients who have frequent exacerbations need to be seen by lung specialists to make sure there are no other diseases or conditions going on in the patient as well.
Expert Video: What medications are used to treat COPD? Expert Video: What medications are used to treat COPD?
Expert pulmonologists talk about the various medications used to treat COPD. The experts describe the main medications, how they work, and when each particular medication should be used. They discuss short-acting and long-acting bronchodilators, inhaled corticosteroids, and phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitors.
Expert Video: What are the side-effects of medications used to treat COPD? Expert Video: What are the side-effects of medications used to treat COPD?
Expert pulmonologists discuss the possible side-effects of the different medications used to treat COPD. Be sure to ask your health care provider about the side effects of any medicines you are prescribed.
Expert Video: What medications are used to treat COPD patients who have cardiovascular complications? Expert Video: What medications are used to treat COPD patients who have cardiovascular complications?
Expert pulmonologists discuss cardio-selective beta-blocker medication used to treat certain heart diseases and management of COPD and its treatment.
Expert Video: What vaccinations are important for COPD patients? Expert Video: What vaccinations are important for COPD patients?
Expert pulmonologists discuss the importance of influenza and pneumonia vaccinations for people living with COPD. Vaccines can protect COPD patients against some strains of flu and pneumonia and can lower the chances of getting flare-ups and needing hospital care.
Expert Video: How can acute exacerbations of COPD be prevented? Expert Video: How can acute exacerbations of COPD be prevented?
Expert pulmonologists talk about the ways in which acute exacerbations of COPD can be prevented from returning. Lifestyle changes and medications such as bronchodilators help COPD patients feel better and also help reduce the chances of exacerbations returning. It is vitally important to get the influenza vaccine every year because it will also reduce the chances of exacerbations coming back.
Expert Video: When should antibiotics be used for COPD exacerbations? Expert Video: When should antibiotics be used for COPD exacerbations?
Expert pulmonologists discuss the importance and circumstances in which antibiotics may be prescribed to treat COPD exacerbations.
Expert Video: What is oxygen therapy for COPD? Expert Video: What is oxygen therapy for COPD?
Expert pulmonologists describe oxygen therapy for COPD and the benefits and circumstances in which it may be needed. They explain what supplemental oxygen is and the different types of devices and machines that are available, including portable concentrators. Travelling with oxygen is also discussed, including how to plan ahead if you are travelling by air plane and require oxygen.
Expert Video: Does oxygen therapy have any side-effects in people with COPD? Expert Video: Does oxygen therapy have any side-effects in people with COPD?
Expert pulmonologists explain that there are no side-effects of oxygen therapy for COPD patients who have low oxygen. COPD patients should discuss supplemental oxygen therapy with their health care providers and pulse oximeter tests must be done regularly to check oxygen levels in patients.
Expert Video: What is pulmonary rehabilitation for COPD patients? Expert Video: What is pulmonary rehabilitation for COPD patients?
Expert pulmonologists describe the various components and benefits of pulmonary rehabilitation for COPD patients. Pulmonary rehab includes a structured exercise program, disease management training, as well as nutritional and psychological counseling. Pulmonary rehab aims to improve exercise capacity, improve lung function, decrease exacerbations and decrease hospitalizations.

Jointly sponsored by the Annenberg Center for Health Sciences at Eisenhower and Prime Medic Inc. in collaboration with Postgraduate Institute for Medicine.

This activity is supported by educational grants from:

This activity is endorsed by WipeDiseases Foundation.

This website is part of The Animated Patient™ Series, developed to provide highly visual formats of learning for patients to improve their understanding, make informed decisions, and partner with their health-care professionals for optimal outcomes.