Pulmonologists see the accumulative effect of lung diseases. One of the most common is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), which refers to a group of lung diseases that limit airflow, making it increasingly difficult to breathe.
“Emphysema, chronic bronchitis and asthma are some of the conditions that make up COPD. COPD can be caused by external and environmental elements that can do irreversible damage to the lungs, so treatment focuses on controlling symptoms and minimizing further damage,” said Dr. Umer Siddiqui with Mercy Pulmonology in Washington. As a pulmonologist, Dr. Siddiqui treats patients with diseases of the lung and respiratory tract.
“Symptoms of COPD include daily cough, shortness of breath, wheezing and chest tightness, and these symptoms can worsen over time,” said Dr. Siddiqui. “Shortness of breath on exertion turns into breathing difficulties in general, which can limit a person’s daily activities and significantly impede his or her quality of life.”
Smoking is a significant contributor to COPD. Other causes include long-term exposure to air pollutants or genetic factors. The disease often strikes people in their 60s because lung damage has progressed over time.
“I recommend that anyone with COPD-like symptoms and risk factors see a physician,” said Dr. Siddiqui. “There are simple tests people can take to make a diagnosis, and if it is COPD, the patient can take the proper steps to try to decelerate damage to the lungs. This may improve the patient’s quality of life.”
He added, “COPD is a leading cause of illness and death worldwide, and in most cases, highly preventable. If you don’t smoke, don’t start,” Dr. Siddiqui said. “If you do smoke, quit now. There are many avenues available to help people quit smoking.”
Dr. Siddiqui is a part of Mercy Clinic, a 1,500-members strong physician’s group that is integrated with Mercy. His office is located in Suite 304 in the Mercy Medical Building, 851 E. Fifth St. in Washington. For more information or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Siddiqui, call 636-239-8832 or talk to your primary care physicians about a referral.
Mercy is the eighth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves more than 3 million people annually. Mercy includes 31 hospitals, more than 200 outpatient facilities, 38,000 co-workers and 1,500 integrated physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. For more about Mercy, visit www.mercy.net.