Andrew Berman, MD, on Comprehensive Care of Patients With COPD

COPD affects more than 16 million Americans. During his session at the American Lung Association’s LUNGFORCE Expo, Andrew Berman, MD, discussed pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic therapy options for patients with COPD, and made note of the comorbid conditions commonly associated with this condition. 

Andrew Berman, MD, is a professor of medicine and director of the Pulmonary and Critical Care Division and Allergy and Rheumatology Division at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark, New Jersey.

TRANSCRIPT:

More than 16 million individuals are diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in the United States, and more individuals may have COPD but are not diagnosed. Because of this high prevalence, it is important for health care providers to understand comprehensive care for patients with COPD, according to Andrew Berman, MD.

This was the topic of Dr Berman’s session at the American Lung Association’s LUNGFORCE Expo 2019.

Andrew Berman, MD, is a professor of medicine and director of the Pulmonary and Critical Care Division and Allergy and Rheumatology Division at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark, New Jersey.

To begin, Dr Berman said you should ensure that your patient actually has COPD, since other conditions can present similarly. Once the diagnosis is made, it’s important to assess the severity of the illness. Questions such as “Do you become out of breath while bringing laundry up some stairs?” or “Have you had an exacerbation in the past year?” can help classify patients into categories using the GOLD refined ABCD assessment tool, and can help you create an appropriate treatment plan for your patients. For example, many patients are prescribed inhaled corticosteroids who may not need to be on this class of drugs.

Providers caring for patients with COPD should also discuss risk factor modification. Since cigarette smoking is a known cause of COPD, the first risk factor to eliminate is smoking. Dr Berman emphasized that no matter when someone stops smoking, it is always beneficial. In addition, patients with COPD should receive appropriate vaccinations.

In addition, Dr Berman stressed that COPD is often accompanied by comorbid conditions including heart disease, osteoporosis and depression. Dr. Berman brought attention to the importance of recognizing that comprehensive care of the patient with COPD involves not only managing the lung disease, but also those conditions that can also contribute to a patient’s symptoms and limitations, and can be overlooked.

For more about Dr Berman’s session, watch our video interview with him here.

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