COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) Overview
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung disease that block airflow, thereby, makes breathing difficult. COPD, also known as emphysema and chronic bronchitis, is the fifth leading cause of death in world. Breathing in certain dusts, fumes, chemicals or gases in the workplace can cause serious long term lung damage. People with COPD have difficulties breathing, primarily due to the narrowing of their airways, this is called airflow obstruction. COPD is a progressive disease that makes it hard to breathe and the disease gets worse in due course of time. In COPD, the airways of the lungs become inflamed and narrowed. As the air sacs get permanently damaged, it will become increasingly difficult to breathe out. COPD is often preventable and treatable.
Causes of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
- Cigarette Smoking.
- Breathing in secondhand smoke
- Air pollution
- Chemical fumes
- Dust from the environment or workplace
- Once in a blue moon, a genetic condition called alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency may cause COPD.
- People who have asthma can sometimes develop COPD
Symptoms of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
Following are the most common symptoms of COPD:-
- Increasing breathlessness when exercising or moving around
- A persistent cough with phlegm that never seems to go away
- Frequent chest infections, particularly in winter
Other signs of COPD can include:
- Weight loss
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Swollen ankles
Risk Factors of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
- Tobacco Smoking
- Indoor air pollution (such as biomass fuel used for cooking and heating)
- Outdoor air pollution
- Occupational dusts and chemicals (vapors, irritants, and fumes)
Diagnosis of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
Once Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is diagnosed clinically, the diagnosis is confirmed by a simple test called Spirometry that measures how deeply a person can breathe and how fast air can move into and out of the lungs.
Treatment of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
Once developed, COPD has no cure. Lifestyle changes and treatments can help you feel better, stay more active, and slow the progress of the disease. Effective therapies are available that can control symptoms, reduce risk of complications and improve your ability to go ahead with a vigorous life.
- Quit Smoking Immediately
- Life Style Changes
Medications for COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
- Bronchodilators relax the muscles around your airways. This helps open your airways and makes breathing easier.
- Combination of medicines that includes a bronchodilator and an inhaled steroid are advised in severe cases. Steroids help reduce airway inflammation, using inhaled steroids alone is not a preferred treatment
- Oxygen Therapy can help you breathe better in severe COPD cases, where intake of Oxygen is less than required. Oxygen is given through nasal prongs or a mask.
- Surgery usually is a last resort for people who have severe symptoms that have not improved from taking medicines.
- Lung Volume Reduction Surgery
- Lung Transplant