- November 28th 2011
New guidelines for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease recommend that physicians use spirometry to diagnose airflow obstruction in patients with respiratory symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath and chronic cough. The screen, however, should not be performed in asymptomatic people, because it could lead to unnecessary testing and increased health care costs, among other things.
Doctors also are urged to be alert for respiratory symptoms in patients who smoke, because cigarette smoking is the leading cause of COPD, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. They should talk to such patients about the harms of smoking and help them quit the habit, said lead guidelines author Amir Qaseem, MD, PhD.
Long-term exposure to other lung irritants, such as air pollution, chemical fumes and dust, also might contribute to developing the disease, the institute said.
The recommendations, published in the Aug. 2 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, were developed b [Read more]