Get Informed About Lung Disease

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a progressive disease of the lungs typically caused by prolonged exposure to a toxin, such as cigarette smoke. Types of COPD include emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

Symptoms of COPD include:

  • Shortness of breath, especially on exertion
  • Frequent cough that doesn’t go away in the absence of a cold
  • Frequent bouts of bronchitis

Get tested for COPD

The diagnosis of COPD is often confirmed through spirometry or pulmonary function tests. These non-invasive tests are performed in the office by breathing forcefully through a device attached to a computer. Often, diagnosis and treatment are coordinated with a lung specialist known as a pulmonologist. RiverBend Medical Group’s pulmonologist is Dr. John Rankin. He works out of RiverBend’s Chicopee office. Appointments with him are best arranged by your PCP and his or her staff.

John Rankin, MD


There is currently no cure for COPD. The main aspects of treatment include lifestyle changes and inhaled prescription medication. Some individuals with COPD benefit from pulmonary rehabilitation (which is a special exercise program for those with COPD) and supplemental oxygen.


Quitting smoking is an important aspect of both preventing and treating COPD. Currently, there are a number of options for smoking cessation, but no intervention will be successful until a personwantsto quit smoking.

To learn more about smoking cessation, visit the websites for The American Lung Association or Massachusetts’s QuitWorks program.

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