COPD
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All About Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

 

A group of progressive lung diseases is a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, commonly referred to as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the most common ones.

 

What is COPD?

 

Chronic pulmonary obstructive disease, or COPD, is an ongoing lung disorder that makes breathing difficult. Smoking is the main cause, but to get it, you don’t have to be a smoker. For this condition, too, there may be other reasons that leave you feeling short of breath.

Causes of Chronic Pulmonary Obstructive Disease:

 

The most common reason people get COPD is cigarette smoke. It can also be obtained from tobacco products like cigar and pipe smoke, particularly if you breathe in the smoke.

Smoke from the second hand is also a problem. You can get COPD from living with one even if you’re not a smoker. Here are some other things that could lead to this: 

Pollution and fumes:

Air pollution can lead to COPD. It can also be caused by respiring in chemical fumes, dust, or toxic substances at work.

Your genes:

People with COPD have a defect in their DNA in rare cases, the code that tells your body how to function properly. This defect is known as “deficiency in alpha-1 antitrypsin,” or deficiency in AAT. Your lungs don’t have enough protein to protect them from damage when you have this. This may result in severe COPD. Ask your doctor about testing for AAT deficiency if you or a family member had serious lung problems-especially at a young age. 

Asthma:

It’s not common, but it can lead to COPD with asthma. If you’re not treating your asthma, you can have life – long damage over time.

How Does COPD Affect  Lungs?

 

There are tiny bags called alveoli inside your lungs. Each time you take a breath, they fill up like balloons. The oxygen in these sacs flows into your bloodstream and then pushes the stale air out of your lungs. Your lungs do not work as they should when you have COPD.

Long-term smoke or other pollutants irritation can cause them good damage. The walls between the alveoli break down when this happens. Your airways are swollen and mucus-clogged. Pushing out the stale air becomes harder. With each breath, you don’t get enough fresh oxygen. 

This occurs very slowly in most cases. Over time, symptoms may occur. Before you even notice them it may be years.

Symptoms of Chronic Pulmonary Obstructive Disease:

 

COPD makes breathing more difficult. Starting with intermittent coughing and shortness of breath, symptoms may be mild at first. As it progresses, symptoms may become more constant where breathing can become more and more difficult. It is possible that your chest is wheezing and tight or excess production of sputum. Some people with COPD are experiencing acute exacerbations that are severe symptom flare-ups. At first, COPD symptoms may be relatively mild. They may be mistaken for a cold. 

Early symptoms are:

  • Occasional breath shortage, especially after exercise
  • Slight but repeated cough
  • You often need to clear your throat, especially in the morning

You may begin to make subtle changes like avoiding stairs and skipping physical activities. Symptoms may gradually get worse and more difficult to ignore. You may experience as the lungs get more damaged:

  • Breathlessness, even after a mild exercise like walking up a staircase
  • Wheezing, a type of higher pitched noisy respiration, particularly during exhalations
  • The tightness of the chest
  • Chronic cough, whether mucus or not
  • Need to clear your mucus every day from your lungs
  • Frequent colds, Flu, or other breathing infections
  • Energy shortages

Symptoms may also include in later COPD stages:

  • Tired
  • Swelling of the feet, ankles or legs
  • Loss of weight

Immediate medical attention is required if:

  • You have bluish or gray fingernails or lips because it shows low levels of oxygen in your blood
  • You find it difficult to catch your breath or you can’t speak
  • You’re feeling confused, muddled or weak

If you currently smoke or are regularly exposed to second – hand smoke, the symptoms are likely to be much worse.

Diagnosis Of COPD:

 

The symptoms must persist or deteriorate for a COPD diagnosis. If a person has the same symptoms but the symptoms go away, another condition may occur.

A doctor will ask about family history and medical history as well as any smoking history. A diagnosis can be confirmed by a lung function test called spirometry.

This measures the amount of air in a short breath, and the air flow rate as this breath occurs. The patient blows hard into a spirometer attached tube that provides the readings. 

This test measures how well a variety of levels the lungs are working. If spirometry proves to be inconclusive, such as a lung diffusion capacity test, other lung function tests are available. Blood tests and x-ray or CT scanned chest images may also be useful.

Treatment Of Chronic Pulmonary Obstructive Disease:

 

There is no treatment for COPD, although management options can alleviate symptoms, enhance life quality, lower complications and decrease the lung function rate.

Be sure to mention all your symptoms when you visit your doctor. Tell your physician whether:

  • Smoker or have smoked within the past
  • Exposed to respiratory organ irritants on the work
  • you’re exposed to plenty of secondhand smoke
  • Case history of COPD
  • Have a respiratory illness or other respiratory conditions
  • You take over-the-counter or prescription medications

During the physical examination, your doctor can use a stethoscope to listen to your lungs as you breathe. supported all this data, your doctor could order some of these tests to get a lot of complete pictures:

  • Spirometry is a non – invasive test for evaluating lung function. You will take a deep breath during the test and then blow into a spirometer – connected tube.
  • Picture tests include an X-ray or CT scan of the chest. These images can give your lungs, blood vessels, and heart a detailed look.
  • A blood gas test involves taking an artery blood sample to measure your blood oxygen, carbon dioxide, and other significant levels.

These tests can be used to determine whether you have COPD, asthma, restrictive lungs or heart failure.

A person with COPD’s life expectancy largely depends on whether or not they smoke and how severe they are once diagnosed with lung damage. Non-smokers with COPD or those with lower symptoms will lose substantial years of their lives. However, smokers in an improved stage of COPD, apart from 4 years that the smoking process itself takes off, lose about 6 years of life expectancy. COPD is irreversible; however, smokers can reduce their risk as soon as possible by leaving. 

 

Also Read: Smoking: Effects On You & Your Baby During Pregnancy