Board Certified Pulmonologists & Board Certified Sleep Medicine Physicians located in Joliet and New Lenox, IL


About COPD

The two main conditions chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) covers are chronic bronchitis and emphysema — lung disorders that can severely affect your breathing. If you have COPD symptoms, visit Midwest Respiratory, Ltd. in Joliet or New Lenox, Illinois. The experienced pulmonologists offer comprehensive treatment to help you manage COPD and live a longer, more active life. Call your nearest Midwest Respiratory, Ltd. office or schedule a consultation online today for first-class COPD care.


What is COPD?

COPD is an umbrella term for disorders affecting your respiratory system that reduce airflow in your lungs. Reduced airflow deprives your body of the oxygen it needs to function properly. The primary COPD diseases are emphysema and chronic bronchitis.


Emphysema damages your lungs’ air pockets (alveoli). As a result, air becomes trapped in your lungs, limiting how much oxygen can enter your bloodstream.

Chronic bronchitis

Chronic bronchitis blocks the central lung airways (bronchi) with mucus. This causes bronchial irritation and swelling.

What symptoms does COPD cause?

COPD causes worsening shortness of breath that can become so severe you struggle with the most basic physical activities. Other common COPD symptoms include:

  • Chest tightness and heaviness
  • Chronic cough
  • Persistent fatigue
  • Wheezing
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Frequent respiratory infections
  • Blue fingers and/or lips

Exacerbations are episodes people with COPD experience sometimes where their symptoms worsen significantly for several days.

COPD’s primary cause is smoking or inhaling significant quantities of second-hand smoke over your lifetime. Other COPD risk factors include family members having the disease and extensive exposure to dust or harmful fumes.

What complications can COPD cause?

COPD complications include:

Respiratory infections

You’re more likely to catch colds or the flu and then develop pneumonia, a severe lung infection. These respiratory infections make breathing even harder and will likely cause further lung tissue damage.

Heart disorders

COPD increases your risk of heart disease and heart attack.

Lung cancer

COPD increases your chance of developing lung cancer.

Pulmonary hypertension

COPD can cause high blood pressure (hypertension) in the arteries that deliver blood to your lungs.


Difficulty breathing caused by COPD prevents you from participating in pleasurable activities and considerably reduces your quality of life.

How is COPD diagnosed and treated?

COPD symptom diagnosis begins with a physical exam and a medical history review. Your Midwest Respiratory, Ltd. provider then arranges pulmonary function tests, which could include spirometry and plethysmography. You may also need a chest X-ray, CT scan, or arterial blood gas analysis.

COPD treatments include:

  • Antibiotics for bacterial infections
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation
  • Short-acting “rescue” bronchodilators 
  • Long-acting “controller” bronchodilators 
  • Inhaled corticosteroid medications 
  • Combination inhalers containing a steroid and bronchodilator
  • Short oral corticosteroid courses
  • Phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitor (roflumilast)
  • Supplemental oxygen
  • Zephyr® valve for severe emphysema

COPD can be life-threatening without proper care. However, Midwest Respiratory, Ltd. offers effective treatments to reduce symptom severity, improve your quality of life, and increase your life expectancy.

Call Midwest Respiratory, Ltd. or book an appointment online today for expert COPD diagnosis and treatment.