Newsplex - Martha Jefferson HealthWise - Headlines

Martha Jefferson Healthwise: COPD

August 17, 2011

For this week's Martha Jefferson Healthwise report, CBS19's Stephanie Satchell highlights a common lung condition that can cause serious problems if left untreated.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a permanent irreversible damage to the bronchial tubes and/or lung tissue. People often get COPD from smoking but it can also be genetic. The only way to know if you have the disease is by getting a medical exam.

"In order to get an idea of how serious the condition is we usually try to do some pulmonary function test or breathing test that helps establish what to expect from the lung," said Dr. Alexander Schult of Martha Jefferson Medical Associates.

A doctor will listen to your lungs and check for symptoms during the appointment.

"The most common symptoms relate to being short of breath or having a cough with productive phlegm for several months a year. Sometimes patients have chest tightness pressure or wheezing and most importantly it has to do with a past history of smoking," said Schult.

Once COPD is diagnosed, patients should begin to start thinking about treatments. Some patients may require extra oxygen to help their body get enough air.

Martha Jefferson Hospital also offers a pulmonary rehab class which teaches patients how to strengthen the lungs with exercise and breathing techniques.

"We help to condition patients' lungs, we tell them about tricks of the trade about how to improve things that are difficult such as lifting up things from the floor, walking up stairs or carrying grocery bags," said Schult.

While there is no way for the lung to heal itself, identifying COPD and treating it can help patients to physically feel better and live longer. Some patients may qualify for a lung transplant, however that process is considered a last resort.

The comments sections of are designed for thoughtful, intelligent conversation and debate. We want to hear from our viewers, but we only ask that you use your best judgment. E-mail is required, but will not be displayed with comment.

  • Comments cannot be profane or vulgar. We will not post comments that use profanity or cross the lines of good taste.
  • We will not post comments that use hate speech. Slurs, stereotypes and violent talk aren’t welcome on our website.
  • Comments should not attack other readers or people featured in our stories personally. Any accusations should be backed up with facts.
  • Any comment we post will be posted in its entirety. We do not edit any comment that we post.
  • Comments should contribute to the discussion. We will not post comments that don't advance the discussion. Flaming and/or trolling will not be tolerated.
  • Comments should not attack other posters. Let's keep the focus on the content of the story.

    As a host welcomes a wide spectrum of opinions. However this is a site that we host. We have a responsibility to all our readers to try to keep our comment section fair and decent. For that reason The Newsplex reserves the right to not post or to remove any comment.

    If you have any ideas to improve the conversation or this section let us know. Send an e-mail to


powered by Disqus
The Charlottesville Newsplex 999 2nd Street S.E. Charlottesville, VA 22902 434.242.1919 – Main 434.220.7522 - Newsroom
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 127971853