Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: diagnosis and management

Charles A Downs, Susan J Appel
Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners 2007, 19 (3): 126-32

PURPOSE: The purpose of this article is to provide a comprehensive review of the current modalities employed in diagnosing and treating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Special emphasis is placed on current guidelines, as defined by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease.

DATA SOURCE: A comprehensive literature review for COPD serves as the basis for this article.

CONCLUSIONS: According to the National COPD Coalition (2004), there are nearly 24 million Americans who suffer from COPD. The incidence of COPD is rising globally and is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. COPD is characterized by progressive decline in function, resulting in concomitant diseases, which increase healthcare dollar expenditures, thus making COPD a concern for healthcare providers in the United States and abroad.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Once a diagnosis of COPD is made, healthcare providers should explore multiple treatment options in an effort to find the most beneficial regimen. It is only when the treatments are individualized, including physiological therapies and cognitive approaches to lessen risks as well as to reduce exacerbations, that the patient with COPD is able to potentially experience a reasonable quality of life.

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