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COPD And Emphysema

Comprehensive Pulmonary

Pulmonologist located in Bakersfield, CA

If you’re experiencing chest tightness and a persistent cough and shortness of breath, you could have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. COPD includes two main lung conditions that make it difficult to breathe: chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Triple board-certified pulmonologist Alpha J. Anders, MD, FCCP, at Comprehensive Pulmonary Care in Bakersfield, California, treats a wide range of lung conditions, including all types of COPD. If you or a loved one has trouble breathing, don’t hesitate to call the office or book an appointment online today.

COPD and Emphysema Q & A

What is COPD?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a term that encompasses any long-lasting inflammatory lung disease that causes difficulty breathing due to lung obstruction. The two most common conditions that contribute to COPD include emphysema and chronic bronchitis:


Emphysema is a serious lung disease that causes the fragile air sacs (alveoli) inside your lungs to become destroyed. This causes small airways to collapse, impairing the flow of air out of your lungs.

Chronic bronchitis

This condition involves chronic inflammation and excess mucus production in the bronchial tubes in your lungs. You develop a persistent cough in an attempt to clear your lungs.

What causes COPD?

Long-term cigarette smoking is the leading cause of all types of COPD. Exposure to other harmful lung irritants, such as secondhand smoke or air pollution, may also cause COPD.

In about 1% of COPD cases, the condition results from a genetic disorder called alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD or A1AD).

What are the symptoms of COPD?

Signs and symptoms of COPD often don’t develop until there’s already significant lung damage. COPD symptoms vary depending on the type and severity of your condition, but often include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness
  • Wheezing
  • Persistent cough
  • Frequent respiratory infections
  • Excess mucus in the lungs


Symptoms of COPD generally worsen over time. Dr. Anders and the team at Comprehensive Pulmonary Care work with you to control your COPD symptoms and improve your quality of life.

How is COPD diagnosed and treated?

To diagnose COPD, Dr. Anders begins with a comprehensive physical exam and review of your medical history. He may perform lung function tests, such as spirometry, to measure the flow of air into and out of your lungs. He may also take a chest X-ray or CT scan to look for signs of emphysema.

Then, he recommends the best course of treatment for your particular condition. Depending on the type and severity of your COPD, treatment may include:

  • Smoking cessation
  • Inhaled or oral medications
  • Supplemental oxygen
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation


Cases of severe emphysema that don’t improve with treatment may require surgery.

Don’t delay in seeking treatment for COPD. Call Comprehensive Pulmonary Care or schedule an appointment online today.