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About COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) affects millions of Americans and is the third leading cause of death in the United States. COPD is becoming increasingly common, but you can breathe easier with expert diagnosis and treatment at Midsouth Independent Group (MIG) in Memphis, Tennessee. Joy Burbeck and a team of experienced providers treat patients with care with compassion, so you can get the support you need. Call the office or request an appointment online today to get reliable COPD care.


What is COPD?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic lung condition, sometimes called chronic bronchitis or emphysema, making breathing difficult. With COPD, the airways in your lungs become inflamed and thickened, creating less space for air to flow.

In turn, this makes it more difficult to get oxygen into your lungs and carbon dioxide out of your body. Over time, the problem worsens, and patients experience shortness of breath, difficulty breathing during everyday activities, and an inability to catch their breath while exercising.

What causes COPD?

The most common cause of COPD is cigarette smoking. Other causes of COPD include long-term exposure to dust, pollutants, and chemicals in the air where you live or work. In rare cases, COPD is caused by a genetic condition called alpha-1 deficiency-related emphysema.

The best way to prevent COPD is to quit smoking. If you are not a smoker, don’t start smoking. 

It’s also important to avoid exposure to secondhand smoke, pollutants, and chemicals. 

It might be necessary to wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose if dangerous chemicals are present in your workplace.

How is COPD diagnosed?

Your MIG provider will thoroughly examine if you experience shortness of breath or have a smoking history. They begin by listening to your lungs through a stethoscope and may tap on your chest and back to check for abnormal sounds indicating lung disease or cancer. 

Additional testing includes spirometry and pulmonary function testing:


This test involves blowing into a small tube that measures how much air you can blow out of your lungs. Spirometry can indicate problematic lung changes before you develop symptoms of COPD.

Other pulmonary function tests

Other pulmonary function tests assess how much oxygen your lungs can hold and how well carbon dioxide and oxygen are exchanged in your lungs. 

With proper testing, you can get the care you need to prevent or slow the progression of COPD.

How is COPD treated?

If you smoke, the first step is quitting smoking. Additional COPD treatment involves pulmonary rehabilitation to improve your breathing and may include exercise training, education, counseling, and nutrition advice.

In other cases, your provider may recommend supplemental oxygen, medications, or surgery to help manage COPD symptoms and side effects.

Get treatment and support for COPD at Midsouth Independent Group (MIG). Call the office or click online to schedule your visit now.