University of Florida Health researchers are on a mission to provide prevention education and effective treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD.
COPD is an umbrella term used to describe a group of lung diseases that often make breathing difficult. These diseases include emphysema and chronic bronchitis, characterized by lingering cough, chest tightness and wheezing.
Pichapong Tunsupon, M.D., an assistant professor within the UF College of Medicine’s division of pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine, has clinical and research interests in COPD and pulmonary rehabilitation. Through his education and fellowship training, he has become well-versed in the causes and treatments for COPD.
About 16 million Americans are diagnosed with COPD, and smoking has proved to be the most common cause of COPD that can be symptomatically treated to improve quality of life and exercise capacity. There is no curative therapy for COPD yet. This is why UF Health is working toward a cure through research and different treatment methods.
The team at UF Health treats patients from throughout Florida using a comprehensive program that employs innovative treatment methods to counteract the effects of COPD and to help patients regain their health. Patients undergo pulmonary function testing to screen for obstructive lung disease before proceeding with appropriate treatment. The team also checks for other comorbidities such as cardiac diseases, metabolic diseases and psychiatric problems to ensure that each patient’s conditions are addressed accordingly.
UF Health offers physical therapy programs, walking saturation tests to evaluate if a patient needs oxygen supplements, vaccinations and evaluations to determine if a patient will be a candidate for lung transplant. The team creates an effective treatment program for patients that goes beyond medication and takes lifestyle adjustments into consideration.
Patients who smoke can receive counseling to help them transition out of the habit. Since smoking is the leading cause of COPD, many patients struggle with this adjustment. This program works to help patients quit smoking for good and to move forward with their treatment in the best way possible.
In addition, UF Health also provides management plan resources and support groups for patients suffering from COPD. At these group meetings, patients and their families have the opportunity to learn more about their condition and how to maintain a healthy lifestyle to help lessen its effects.