COPD Specialist

Sienna Wellness Institute

Podiatrists & Internists located in Lake Isabella, CA

More than 11 million Americans suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a lung disorder that affects your breathing. Millions more might have the disease without even knowing it. At Sienna Wellness Institute & Sienna Podiatry in Lake Isabella, California, the team of doctors at Sienna Wellness diagnos and treat this troublesome lung condition. COPD sufferers are at increased risk of heart disease and lung cancer, so intervention is critical. If you’re experiencing symptoms like fatigue or shortness of breath, call or schedule an appointment online today.


What is COPD?

COPD is a progressive lung disease that makes breathing increasingly difficult over time. If you have COPD, the airways in your lungs develop inflammation, and the tissues where oxygen passes through get destroyed. Because of this, the normal flow of air in and out of your lungs becomes strained.

As a result, less oxygen is able to make its way into your body tissues, making it harder to remove carbon dioxide gas. As the disease progresses, shortness of breath leads to fatigue, making it tough to maintain an active lifestyle.

What are symptoms of COPD?

The following are some of the most common signs and symptoms of COPD:

  • Blueness in your fingernails or lips
  • Chronic cough
  • Fatigue
  • Heavy mucus (also called phlegm or sputum)
  • Recurring respiratory infections
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing

In many cases, COPD sufferers don’t detect common symptoms until the disease has progressed to later stages. Many people mistakenly blame symptoms on aging. However, symptoms like shortness of breath, fatigue, and wheezing are often signs of lung disease.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to take them seriously. Seek medical attention and discuss your symptoms with Dr. Spohn-Gross right away, particularly if they begin to affect your quality of life.

What causes COPD?

Over time, being exposed to certain irritants can cause severe damage to your lungs and thicken oxygen airways, leading to COPD or other lung diseases like chronic bronchitis and emphysema. The following are some of the main causes of COPD:


Nearly 90 percent of COPD cases are caused by smoking cigarettes. The toxins in cigarette smoke erode the defensive mechanisms within your lungs that prevent infections, narrowing of air passageways, and swelling in air tubes.

Environmental Factors

Harmful irritants you may breathe in every day, such as air pollution, dust, fumes, chemicals, and secondhand smoke, can harm your lungs and contribute to developing COPD. For many, work-related environmental factors lead to COPD.

Deficiency of Alpha-1

Although it’s rare, some people develop a genetically inherited form of COPD resulting from the body’s inability to create a protein called Alpha-1. Your body uses this protein to repair environmental damage that affects your lungs.

How do you manage and treat COPD?

There is no cure for COPD, but it’s entirely possible to prevent, manage, and treat COPD.

To diagnose COPD, Dr. Spohn-Gross asks questions about your family history with respect to respiratory illnesses, your medical history, medications you take, and your symptoms. She then conducts a thorough physical exam and may order some laboratory tests to evaluate the severity of your COPD.

Together, you and Dr. Spohn-Gross develop a comprehensive plan to manage and treat your COPD. Methods may include a combination of medications, lifestyle modifications, and potentially a recommendation for surgery.

Treating COPD can help you breathe better, engage in more activities that you enjoy, remain active, and experience far fewer exacerbations of the disease.  

If you’re experiencing symptoms associated with lung disease, call or schedule an appointment online today.

Conditions & Treatments