Diagnosing COPD

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Diagnosing COPD is multifactorial, as stated previously, an all-encompassing nursing assessment and patient history must be conducted. When these processes are finalized, and subjective evidence points towards COPD, it is necessary to confirm the diagnosis with objective data. The definitive way to do this is by conducting pulmonary function testing (PFT); specifically, spirometry. On top of diagnosing, spirometry, is also pertinent for staging the patients COPD (Corbridge,et al., 2012). In addition to these facets, there are several other radiologic and laboratory tests that are helpful in determining the severity of COPD; they are not so much diagnostic, as they are informative. Spirometry is necessary to diagnose COPD, it verifies that…show more content…
Management is diverse, the objective is to relief from symptoms, delay progression, increase exercise tolerance and reduce mortality; this can be accomplished by preventing and treating complications (Nettina, 2013). Since smoking is so rampant in this patient, it is critical that the nurse translates the importance of smoking cessation to slow disease advancement and increase survival (Nettina, 2013). Another standard treatment of COPD is the use of inhaled bronchodilators that reduce dyspnea and bronchospasm (Nettina, 2013). Some of these medications are long acting, such as the anticholinergic Tiotropium or the beta adrenergic agonists Salmeterol, others are short acting, used before activity or when symptoms worsen; examples of such are Ipratropium, an anticholinergic, and the beta adrenergic agonists Albuterol (Nettina, 2013).The patient that has repeated exacerbations and is symptomatic with a FEV1 less than fifty percent is often prescribed inhaled corticosteroids (Nettina. 2013). Those experiencing an acute exacerbation are prescribed oral corticosteroids due to their anti-inflammatory attributes (Nettina, 2013). All of these inhaled medications require the nurse to provide extensive teaching on proper use of the types of inhalers, as well as, the importance of the taking as prescribed; this is also the case of the oral corticosteroid…show more content…
Just as well, the nurse caring for one with COPD must communicate the need to start a safe exercise program, such as walking, and upper body strength training to ease the use of accessory muscles (Nettina, 2013). These task will improve the patient’s ability to perform ADL’s, increase strength of accessory muscles; thus lessening symptoms and reducing episodes of exacerbation (Nettina, 2013). Yet another teaching point the nurse must stress is the significance of receiving timely vaccinations (influenza and pneumococcal) and using antimicrobial agents to limit respiratory infections (Nettina,
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